Constriction of actin rings by passive crosslinkers

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Reference A. Cumberworth and P.R. ten Wolde, Constriction of actin rings by passive crosslinkers, Phys.Rev.Lett. 131, (3), 038401: 1-7 (2023)
Group Biochemical Networks

In many organisms, cell division is driven by the constriction of a cytokinetic ring, which consists of actin filaments and crosslinking proteins. While it has long been believed that the constriction is driven by motor proteins, it has recently been discovered that passive crosslinkers that do not turn over fuel are able to generate enough force to constrict actin filament rings. To study the ring constriction dynamics, we develop a model that includes the driving force of crosslinker condensation and the opposing forces of friction and filament bending. We analyze the constriction force as a function of ring topology and crosslinker concentration, and predict forces that are sufficient to constrict an unadorned plasma membrane. Our model also predicts that actin-filament sliding arises from an interplay between filament rotation and crosslinker hopping, producing frictional forces that are low compared with those of crosslinker-mediated microtubule sliding.