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Active cargo positioning in antiparallel transport networks

By Mathieu Richard, Carles Blanch-Mercader, Hajer Ennomani, Wenxiang Cao, Enrique M. De La Cruz, Jean-Fran├žois Joanny, Frank Julicher, Laurent Blanchoin, Pascal Martin

Posted 06 Jan 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/512863 (published DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1900416116)

Cytoskeletal filaments assemble into dense parallel, antiparallel or disordered networks, providing a complex environment for active cargo transport and positioning by molecular motors. The interplay between the network architecture and intrinsic motor properties clearly affects transport properties but remains poorly understood. Here, by using surface micro-patterns of actin polymerization, we investigate stochastic transport properties of colloidal beads in antiparallel networks of overlapping actin filaments. We found that 200-nm beads coated with myosin-Va motors displayed directed movements towards positions where the net polarity of the actin network vanished, accumulating there. The bead distribution was dictated by the spatial profiles of local bead velocity and diffusion coefficient, indicating that a diffusion-drift process was at work. Remarkably, beads coated with heavy mero-myosin-II motors showed a similar behavior. However, although velocity gradients were steeper with myosin II, the much larger bead diffusion observed with this motor resulted in less precise positioning. Our observations are well described by a three-state model, in which active beads locally sense the net polarity of the network by frequently detaching from and reattaching to the filaments. A stochastic sequence of processive runs and diffusive searches results in a biased random walk. The precision of bead positioning is set by the gradient of net actin polarity in the network and by the run length of the cargo in an attached state. Our results unveiled physical rules for cargo transport and positioning in networks of mixed polarity.

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