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Modeling the Mechanics of Cell Division: Influence of Spontaneous Membrane Curvature, Surface Tension, and Osmotic Pressure



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Beltrán de Heredia Rodríguez, Elena and Almendro Vedia, Victor Galileo and Monroy, Francisco and Cao García, Francisco Javier (2017) Modeling the Mechanics of Cell Division: Influence of Spontaneous Membrane Curvature, Surface Tension, and Osmotic Pressure. Frontiers in psychology, 8 . ISSN 1664-042X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00312


Many cell division processes have been conserved throughout evolution and are being revealed by studies on model organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, and protozoa. Cellular membrane constriction is one of these processes, observed almost universally during cell division. It happens similarly in all organisms through a mechanical pathway synchronized with the sequence of cytokinetic events in the cell interior. Arguably, such a mechanical process is mastered by the coordinated action of a constriction machinery fueled by biochemical energy in conjunction with the passive mechanics of the cellular membrane. Independently of the details of the constriction engine, the membrane component responds against deformation by minimizing the elastic energy at every constriction state following a pathway still unknown. In this paper, we address a theoretical study of the mechanics of membrane constriction in a simplified model that describes a homogeneous membrane vesicle in the regime where mechanical work due to osmotic pressure, surface tension, and bending energy are comparable. We develop a general method to find approximate analytical expressions for the main descriptors of a symmetrically constricted vesicle. Analytical solutions are obtained by combining a perturbative expansion for small deformations with a variational approach that was previously demonstrated valid at the reference state of an initially spherical vesicle at isotonic conditions. The analytic approximate results are compared with the exact solution obtained from numerical computations, getting a good agreement for all the computed quantities (energy, area, volume, constriction force). We analyze the effects of the spontaneous curvature, the surface tension and the osmotic pressure in these quantities, focusing especially on the constriction force. The more favorable conditions for vesicle constriction are determined, obtaining that smaller constriction forces are required for positive spontaneous curvatures, low or negative membrane tension and hypertonic media. Conditions for spontaneous constriction at a given constriction force are also determined. The implications of these results for biological cell division are discussed. This work contributes to a better quantitative understanding of the mechanical pathway of cellular division, and could assist the design of artificial divisomes in vesicle-based self-actuated microsystems obtained from synthetic biology approaches.

Item Type:Article
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© 2017 Frontiers Media SA.
Financial support from FPU grant 13/02826 (Ministerio de Educacion, Cultura y Deporte, Spain), from MINECO (Spain) grants FIS2010-17440 and FIS2015-67765-R (to FJC), and FIS2009-1450-C02-01 and FIS2015-70339-C2-1-R (to FM) and from Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) grant S2009/MAT-1507 (to FM).

Uncontrolled Keywords:Heavy chain gene; Escherichia coli; Shape transformations; Intramembrane domains; Cleavage furrow; Giant vesicles; Z- ring; Ftsz; Cytokinesis; Bacteria.
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Nuclear physics
ID Code:44891
Deposited On:30 Oct 2017 11:26
Last Modified:10 Dec 2018 14:57

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