Transport of a 1D viscoelastic actin-myosin strip of gel as a model of a crawling cell

Kamila Larripa, Alex Mogilner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell crawling is an important biological phenomenon because it underlies coordinated cell movement in morphogenesis, cancer and wound healing. This phenomenon is based on protrusion at the cell's leading edge, retraction at the rear, contraction and graded adhesion powered by the dynamics of actin and myosin protein networks. A few one-dimensional models successfully explain an anteroposterior organization of the motile cell, but don't sufficiently explore the viscoelastic nature of the actin-myosin gel. We develop and numerically solve a model of a treadmilling strip of viscoelastic actin-myosin gel. The results show that the strip translocates steadily as a traveling pulse, without changing length, and that protein densities, velocities and stresses become stationary. The simulations closely match the observed forces, movements and protein distributions in the living cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Actin
  • Cell motility
  • Lamellipodium
  • Myosin
  • Treadmilling
  • Viscoelastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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