The actin cortex as an active wetting layer

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Abstract

Using active gel theory we study theoretically the properties of the cortical actin layer of animal cells. The cortical layer is described as a non-equilibrium wetting film on the cell membrane. The actin density is approximately constant in the layer and jumps to zero at its edge. The layer thickness is determined by the ratio of the polymerization velocity and the depolymerization rate of actin.

Graphical abstract

On leave from Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India.