On the force-velocity relationship of a bundle of rigid bio-filaments

Alessia Perilli, Carlo Pierleoni, Giovanni Ciccotti, Jean Paul Ryckaert

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In various cellular processes, bio-filaments like F-actin and F-tubulin are able to exploit chemical energy associated with polymerization to perform mechanical work against an obstacle loaded with an external force. The force-velocity relationship quantitatively summarizes the nature of this process. By a stochastic dynamical model, we give, together with the evolution of a staggered bundle of Nf rigid living filaments facing a loaded wall, the corresponding force-velocity relationship. We compute the evolution of the model in the infinite wall diffusion limit and in supercritical conditions (monomer density reduced by critical density ρ^1>1), and we show that this solution remains valid for moderate non-zero values of the ratio between the wall diffusion and the chemical time scales. We consider two classical protocols: the bundle is opposed either to a constant load or to an optical trap setup, characterized by a harmonic restoring force. The constant load case leads, for each F value, to a stationary velocity Vstat(F;Nf,ρ^1) after a relaxation with characteristic time τmicro(F). When the bundle (initially taken as an assembly of filament seeds) is subjected to a harmonic restoring force (optical trap load), the bundle elongates and the load increases up to stalling over a characteristic time τOT. Extracted from this single experiment, the force-velocity VOT(F;Nf,ρ^1) curve is found to coincide with Vstat(F;Nf,ρ^1), except at low loads. We show that this result follows from the adiabatic separation between τmicro and τOT, i.e., τmicro ≈ τOT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095101
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


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