Modeling Capping Protein FRAP and CALI Experiments Reveals In Vivo Regulation of Actin Dynamics

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7090, USA.
Cytoskeleton (Impact Factor: 3.12). 08/2010; 67(8):519-34. DOI: 10.1002/cm.20463
Source: PubMed


To gain insights on cellular mechanisms regulating actin polymerization, we used the Virtual Cell to model fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and chromophore-assisted laser inactivation (CALI) experiments on EGFP-capping protein (EGFP-CP). Modeling the FRAP kinetics demonstrated that the in vivo rate for the dissociation of CP from actin filaments is much faster (approximately 0.1 s(-1)) than that measured in vitro (0.01-0.0004 s(-1)). The CALI simulation revealed that in order to induce sustainable changes in cell morphology after CP inactivation, the cells should exhibit anticapping ability. We included the VASP protein as the anticapping agent in the modeling scheme. The model predicts that VASP affinity for barbed ends has a cooperative dependence on the concentration of VASP-barbed end complexes. This dependence produces a positive feedback that stabilizes the complexes and allows sustained growth at clustered filament tips. We analyzed the range of laser intensities that are sufficient to induce changes in cell morphology. This analysis demonstrates that FRAP experiments with EGFP-CP can be performed safely without changes in cell morphology, because, the intensity of the photobleaching beam is not high enough to produce the critical concentration of free barbed ends that will induce filament growth before diffusional replacement of EGFP-CP occurs.

Download full-text


Available from: Eric Vitriol, Jul 17, 2015
  • Source
    • "We have previously demonstrated that clustering of membrane-targeted Nck SH3 domains induces actin polymerization in the form of highly motile actin comet tails (Rivera et al., 2004, 2009). We have also created a computational model of the actin cytoskeleton (Ditlev et al., 2009; Kapustina et al., 2010). In this study, we introduced modifications to these tools to examine the quantitative relationships between Nck and actin dynamics. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Regulation of actin dynamics through the Nck/N-WASp (neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein)/Arp2/3 pathway is essential for organogenesis, cell invasiveness, and pathogen infection. Although many of the proteins involved in this pathway are known, the detailed mechanism by which it functions remains undetermined. To examine the signaling mechanism, we used a two-pronged strategy involving computational modeling and quantitative experimentation. We developed predictions for Nck-dependent actin polymerization using the Virtual Cell software system. In addition, we used antibody-induced aggregation of membrane-targeted Nck SH3 domains to test these predictions and to determine how the number of molecules in Nck aggregates and the density of aggregates affected localized actin polymerization in living cells. Our results indicate that the density of Nck molecules in aggregates is a critical determinant of actin polymerization. Furthermore, results from both computational simulations and experimentation support a model in which the Nck/N-WASp/Arp2/3 stoichiometry is 4:2:1. These results provide new insight into activities involving localized actin polymerization, including tumor cell invasion, microbial pathogenesis, and T cell activation.
    Preview · Article · May 2012 · The Journal of Cell Biology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cyclic AMP signals encode information required to differentially regulate a wide variety of cellular responses; yet it is not well understood how information is encrypted within these signals. An emerging concept is that compartmentalization underlies specificity within the cAMP signaling pathway. This concept is based on a series of observations indicating that cAMP levels are distinct in different regions of the cell. One such observation is that cAMP production at the plasma membrane increases pulmonary microvascular endothelial barrier integrity, whereas cAMP production in the cytosol disrupts barrier integrity. To better understand how cAMP signals might be compartmentalized, we have developed mathematical models in which cellular geometry as well as total adenylyl cyclase and phosphodiesterase activities were constrained to approximate values measured in pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells. These simulations suggest that the subcellular localizations of adenylyl cyclase and phosphodiesterase activities are by themselves insufficient to generate physiologically relevant cAMP gradients. Thus, the assembly of adenylyl cyclase, phosphodiesterase, and protein kinase A onto protein scaffolds is by itself unlikely to ensure signal specificity. Rather, our simulations suggest that reductions in the effective cAMP diffusion coefficient may facilitate the formation of substantial cAMP gradients. We conclude that reductions in the effective rate of cAMP diffusion due to buffers, structural impediments, and local changes in viscosity greatly facilitate the ability of signaling complexes to impart specificity within the cAMP signaling pathway.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · AJP Cell Physiology
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Growth cones, found at the tip of axonal projections, are the sensory and motile organelles of developing neurons that enable axon pathfinding and target recognition for precise wiring of the neural circuitry. To date, many families of conserved guidance molecules and their corresponding receptors have been identified that work in space and time to ensure billions of axons to reach their targets. Research in the past two decades has also gained significant insight into the ways in which growth cones translate extracellular signals into directional migration. This review aims to examine new progress toward understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying directional motility of the growth cone and to discuss questions that remain to be addressed. Specifically, we will focus on the cellular ensemble of cytoskeleton, adhesion, and membrane and examine how the intricate interplay between these processes orchestrates the directed movement of growth cones.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Neuron
Show more