, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 995-1011

Relationships between Actin Regulatory Mechanisms and Measurable State Variables


In this report we extend our recent mathematical formulation of the actin cycle model [Bindschadler et al. Biophys. J. 86 (2004) 2720] to predict the influence of key regulatory mechanisms on network-scale state variables estimable in live cell experiments. Specifically, we examine the influence of regulation by cofilin, profilin, capping protein and proteins that adjust filament number through nucleation and/or filament severing, on the higher order variables of average filament length, polymer fraction, and filament turnover rate. Importantly, we find that severing/nucleation, the acceleration of ADP-subunit disassembly by cofilin, and the catalytic and shuttle functions of profilin have ‘signature’ effects on the higher order state variables. In this way, measurement of the state variables in live cells can allow inference of regulatory mechanism(s) underlying changes in cell state. Our results compare favorably to published data for endothelial cells undergoing a transition from non-motile confluent cells to highly motile subconfluent cells. The extension of our model to higher order state variables allows us to investigate other important issues such as the distinction between basic and higher order measures of filament dynamics, the influence of thymosin β4 on network state variables, the interplay between thymosin β4 and profilin, and the synergystic effects of cofilin and profilin.