Cross-linkers at growing microtubule ends generate forces that drive actin transport

doi: 10.4121/c.5584335.v1
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doi: 10.4121/c.5584335
Datacite citation style:
Celine Alkemade; Harmen Wierenga; Volkov, Vladimir; Magdalena Preciado-Lopez; Anna Akhmanova et. al. (2021): Cross-linkers at growing microtubule ends generate forces that drive actin transport. Version 1. 4TU.ResearchData. collection.
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This collection contains the data and codes from "Cross-linkers at growing microtubule ends generate forces that drive actin transport", as published on BioRxiv (2021) and at PNAS (2022).

The actin and microtubule cytoskeletons form active networks in the cell that can contract and remodel, resulting in vital cellular processes as cell division and motility. Motor proteins play an important role in generating the forces required for these processes, but more recently the concept of passive cross-linkers being able to generate forces has emerged. So far, these passive cross-linkers have been studied in the context of separate actin and microtubule systems. Here, we show that cross-linkers also allow actin and microtubules to exert forces on each other. More specifically, we study single actin filaments that are cross-linked to growing microtubule ends, using in vitro reconstitution, computer simulations, and a minimal theoretical model. We show that microtubules can transport actin filaments over large (micrometer-range) distances, and find that this transport results from two antagonistic forces arising from the binding of crosslinkers to the overlap between the actin and microtubule filaments.
The cross-linkers attempt to maximize the overlap between the actin and the tip of the growing microtubules, creating an affinity-driven forward condensation force, and simultaneously create a competing friction force along the microtubule lattice. We predict and verify experimentally how the average transport time depends on the actin filament length and the microtubule growth velocity, confirming the competition between a forward condensation force and a backward friction force. In addition, we theoretically predict and experimentally verify that the condensation force is of the order of 0.1pN. Thus, our results reveal a new mechanism for local actin remodelling by growing microtubules.
  • 2021-11-08 first online, published, posted
  • 2022-03-17 revised
  • Synergy grant 609822
  • Building a Model Cell to Achieve Control of Cellular Organization (grant code 609822) [more info...] European Research Council
Delft University of Technology