Affordable Access

Motor-mediated bidirectional transport along an antipolar microtubule bundle: a mathematical model.

  • Lin, Congping
  • Ashwin, Peter
  • Steinberg, Gero
Published Article
Physical Review E
American Physical Society (APS)
Publication Date
May 01, 2013
PMID: 23767568


Long-distance bidirectional transport of organelles depends on the coordinated motion of various motor proteins on the cytoskeleton. Recent quantitative live cell imaging in the elongated hyphal cells of Ustilago maydis has demonstrated that long-range motility of motors and their endosomal cargo occurs on unipolar microtubules (MTs) near the extremities of the cell. These MTs are bundled into antipolar bundles within the central part of the cell. Dynein and kinesin-3 motors coordinate their activity to move early endosomes (EEs) in a bidirectional fashion where dynein drives motility towards MT minus ends and kinesin towards MT plus ends. Although this means that one can easily assign the drivers of bidirectional motion in the unipolar section, the bipolar orientations in the bundle mean that it is possible for either motor to drive motion in either direction. In this paper we use a multilane asymmetric simple exclusion process modeling approach to simulate and investigate phases of bidirectional motility in a minimal model of an antipolar MT bundle. In our model, EE cargos (particles) change direction on each MT with a turning rate Ω and there is switching between MTs in the bundle at the minus ends. At these ends, particles can hop between MTs with rate q(1) on passing from a unipolar to a bipolar section (the obstacle-induced switching rate) or q(2) on passing in the other direction (the end-induced switching rate). By a combination of numerical simulations and mean-field approximations, we investigate the distribution of particles along the MTs for different values of these parameters and of Θ, the overall density of particles within this closed system. We find that even if Θ is low, the system can exhibit a variety of phases with shocks in the density profiles near plus and minus ends caused by queuing of particles. We discuss how the parameters influence the type of particle that dominates active transport in the bundle.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times