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Journal Article

Spreading of perturbations in myosin group kinetics along actin filaments


Hilbert,  Lennart
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Balassy, Z., Lauzon, A.-M., & Hilbert, L. (2019). Spreading of perturbations in myosin group kinetics along actin filaments. PNAS, 116(35), 17336-17344. doi:10.1073/pnas.1904164116.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-1727-6
Global changes in the state of spatially distributed systems can often be traced back to perturbations that arise locally. Whether such local perturbations grow into global changes depends on the system geometry and the spatial spreading of these perturbations. Here, we investigate how different spreading behaviors of local perturbations determine their global impact in 1-dimensional systems of different size. Specifically, we assessed sliding arrest events in in vitro motility assays where myosins propel actin, and simulated the underlying mechanochemistry of myosins that bind along the actin filament. We observed spontaneous sliding arrest events that occurred more frequently for shorter actin filaments. This observation could be explained by spontaneous local arrest of myosin kinetics that stabilizes once it spreads throughout an entire actin filament. When we introduced intermediate concentrations of the actin cross-linker filamin, longer actin was arrested more frequently. This observation was reproduced by simulations where filamin binding induces persistent local arrest of myosin kinetics, which subsequently spreads throughout the actin filament. A spin chain model with nearest-neighbor coupling reproduced key features of our experiments and simulations, thus extending to other linear systems with nearest-neighbor coupling the following conclusions: 1) perturbations that are persistent only once they spread throughout the system are more effective in smaller systems, and 2) perturbations that are persistent upon their establishment are more effective in larger systems. Beyond these general conclusions, our work also provides a theoretical model of collective myosin kinetics with a finite range of mechanical coupling along the actin filament.