Math Biology Seminar: Cole Zmurchok

  • Date: 11/15/2017
  • Time: 14:00
Cole Zmurchok, UBC

University of British Columbia


Coupling Mechanical Tension and GTPase Signaling to Generate Cell and Tissue Dynamics


Regulators of the actin cytoskeleton such Rho GTPases can modulate forces developed in cells by promoting actomyosin contraction. At the same time, through mechanosensing, tension is known to affect the activity of Rho GTPases.
What happens when these effects act in concert? Using a minimal model (1 GTPase coupled to a Kelvin-Voigt element), we show that two-way feedback between signaling (“RhoA”) and mechanical tension (stretching) leads to a spectrum of cell behaviors, including contracted or relaxed cells, and cells that oscillate between these extremes. When such “model cells” are connected to one another in a row or in a 2D sheet (“epithelium”), we observe waves of contraction/relaxation and GTPase activity sweeping through the tissue. The minimal model lends itself to full bifurcation analysis, and suggests a mechanism that explains behavior observed in the context of development and collective cell behavior.

Other Information: 

Location: ESB 4127