The actin microfilament (F-actin) is a structural and functional component of the cell cytoskeleton. Notwithstanding the primary role it plays for the mechanics of the cell, the mechanical behaviour of F-actin is still not totally explored. In particular, the relationship between the mechanics of F-actin and its molecular architecture is not completely understood. In this study, the mechanical properties of F-actin were related to the molecular topology of its building monomers (G-actin) by employing a computational multi-level approach. F-actins with lengths up to 500 nm were modelled and characterized, using a combination of equilibrium molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and normal mode analysis (NMA). MD simulations were performed to analyze the molecular rearrangements of G-actin in physiological conditions; NMA was applied to compute the macroscopic properties of F-actin from its vibrational modes of motion. Results from this multi-level approach showed that bending stiffness, bending modulus and persistence length are independent from the length of F-actin. On the contrary, the orientations and motions of selected groups of residues of G-actin play a primary role in determining the filament flexibility. In conclusion, this study (i) demonstrated that a combined computational approach of MD and NMA allows to investigate the biomechanics of F-actin taking into account the molecular topology of the filament (i.e., the molecular conformations of G-actin) and (ii) that this can be done using only crystallographic G-actin, without the need of introducing experimental parameters nor of reducing the number of residues.
|Titolo:||Biomechanics of actin filaments: a computational multi-level study|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2011|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.11.014|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|