Growing an actin gel on spherical surfaces

V. Noireaux, R. M. Golsteyn, E. Friederich, J. Prost, C. Antony, D. Louvard, Cecile Sykes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Inspired by the motility of the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, we have experimentally studied the growth of an actin gel around spherical beads grafted with ActA, a protein known to be the promoter of bacteria movement. On ActA-grafted beads F-actin is formed in a spherical manner, whereas on the bacteria a 'comet-like' tail F-actin is produced. We show experimentally that the stationary thickness of the gel depends on the radius of the beads. Moreover, the actin gel snot formed if the ActA surface density is top low. To interpret our results, we propose a theoretical model to explain how the mechanical stress (due to spherical geometry) limits the growth of the actin gel. Our model also takes into account treading of actin. We deduce from our work that the force exerted by the actin gel on the bacteria is of the order of 10 pN. Finally, we estimate from our theoretical model possible, conditions for developing actin comet tails.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1643-1654
Number of pages12
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


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