Cytosolic pressure provides a propulsive force comparable to actin polymerization during lamellipod protrusion. Academic Article uri icon


  • Does cytosolic pressure facilitate f-actin polymerization to push the leading edge of a cell forward during self-propelled motion? AFM force-distance (f-d) curves obtained from lamellipodia of live cells often exhibit a signal from which the tension, bending modulus, elastic modulus and thickness in the membrane-cortex complex can be estimated close to the contact point. These measurements permit an estimate of the cytosolic pressure via the canonical Laplace force balance. The deeper portion of the f-d curve allows estimation of the bulk modulus of the cytoskeleton after removal of the bottom effect artifact. These estimates of tension, pressure, cortex thickness and elastic moduli imply that cytosolic pressure both pushes the membrane forward and compresses the actin cortex rearward to facilitate f-actin polymerization. We also estimate that cytosolic pressure fluctuations, most likely induced by myosin, provide a propulsive force comparable to that provided by f-actin polymerization in a lamellipod.

publication date

  • July 21, 2015