Speaker: Dr Angelika Manhart (Imperial College London) 

Abstract: Many motile cells use dense, branched actin networks for movement. This requires “macroscopic tradmilling”, where assembly at the front balances disassembly at the rear. We combine the use of a biomimetic motility system with mathematical modeling to investigate how cofilin, a known disassembly agent, creates dynamic networks of fixed lengths. To capture the observed macroscopic fragmentation of the network, we combine PDE-based modeling of the cofilin binding dynamics with a discrete network disassembly model. This allows to derive a simple formula predicting the equilibrium network length across various control parameters. Additionally we model how cofilin changes elasticity properties of networks and therefore affects network steering, directly related to understanding directional changes in cells.