Spatiotemporal regulation of chemical reactions by active cytoskeletal remodeling. Academic Article uri icon


  • Efficient and reproducible construction of signaling and sorting complexes, both on the surface and within the living cell, is contingent on local regulation of biochemical reactions by the cellular milieu. We propose that in many cases this spatiotemporal regulation can be mediated by interaction with components of the dynamic cytoskeleton. We show how the interplay between active contractility and remodeling of the cytoskeleton can result in transient focusing of passive molecules to form clusters, leading to a dramatic increase in the reaction efficiency and output levels. The dynamic cytoskeletal elements that drive focusing behave as quasienzymes catalyzing the chemical reaction. These ideas are directly applicable to the cortical actin-dependent clustering of cell surface proteins such as lipid-tethered GPI-anchored proteins, Ras proteins, as well as many proteins that have domains that confer the ability to interact with the actin cytoskeleton. In general such cytoskeletal driven clustering of proteins could be a cellular mechanism to spatiotemporally regulate and amplify local chemical reaction rates in a variety of contexts such as signaling, transcription, sorting, and endocytosis.

publication date

  • September 6, 2011