ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0008.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: bottom-up synthetic biology; motor proteins; pattern formation; self-organization
Online: 2 April 2020 (04:02:53 CEST)
Cortical actomyosin flows, among other mechanisms, scale up spontaneous symmetry breaking and thus play pivotal roles in cell differentiation, division, and motility. According to many model systems, myosin motor-induced local contractions of initially isotropic actomyosin cortices are nucleation points for generating cortical flows. However, the positive feedback mechanisms by which spontaneous contractions can be amplified towards large-scale directed flows remain mostly speculative. To investigate such a process on spherical surfaces, we reconstituted and confined initially isotropic minimal actomyosin cortices to the interfaces of emulsion droplets. The presence of ATP leads to myosin-induced local contractions that self-organize and amplify into directed, large-scale actomyosin flows. By combining our experiments with theory, we found that the feedback mechanism leading to a coordinated, directional motion of actomyosin clusters can be described as asymmetric cluster vibrations, caused by intrinsic non-isotropic ATP consumption, in conjunction with spatial confinement. By tracking individual actomyosin clusters, we identified fingerprints of vibrational states as the basis of directed motions. These vibrations may represent a generic key driver of directed actomyosin flows under spatial confinement in vitro and in living systems.