Friday, September 30, 2016

Particle-Based Modeling of Living Actin Filaments in an Optical Trap

Thomas A. Hunt, Santosh Mogurampelly, Giovanni Ciccotti, Carlo Pierleoni, and Jean-Paul Ryckaert

We report a coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation study of a bundle of parallel actin filaments under supercritical conditions pressing against a loaded mobile wall using a particle-based approach where each particle represents an actin unit. The filaments are grafted to a fixed wall at one end and are reactive at the other end, where they can perform single monomer (de)polymerization steps and push on a mobile obstacle. We simulate a reactive grand canonical ensemble in a box of fixed transverse area A, with a fixed number of grafted filaments Nf , at temperature T and monomer chemical potential μ1 . For a single filament case ( Nf=1 ) and for a bundle of Nf=8 filaments, we analyze the structural and dynamical properties at equilibrium where the external load compensates the average force exerted by the bundle. The dynamics of the bundle-moving-wall unit are characteristic of an over-damped Brownian oscillator in agreement with recent in vitro experiments by an optical trap setup. We analyze the influence of the pressing wall on the kinetic rates of (de)polymerization events for the filaments. Both static and dynamic results compare reasonably well with recent theoretical treatments of the same system. Thus, we consider the proposed model as a good tool to investigate the properties of a bundle of living filaments.

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