[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vivo, F-actin flows are observed at different cell life stages and participate in various developmental processes during asymmetric divisions in vertebrate oocytes, cell migration, or wound healing. Here, we show that confinement has a dramatic effect on F-actin spatiotemporal organization. We reconstitute in vitro the spontaneous generation of F-actin flow using Xenopus meiotic extracts artificially confined within a geometry mimicking the cell boundary. Perturbations of actin polymerization kinetics or F-actin nucleation sites strongly modify the network flow dynamics. A combination of quantitative image analysis and biochemical perturbations shows that both spatial localization of F-actin nucleators and actin turnover play a decisive role in generating flow. Interestingly, our in vitro assay recapitulates several symmetry-breaking processes observed in oocytes and early embryonic cells.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences