Biophysics and Physicobiology
Online ISSN : 2189-4779
ISSN-L : 2189-4779

This article has now been updated. Please use the final version.

Unveiling the physics underlying symmetry breaking of the actin cytoskeleton: An artificial cell-based approach
Ryota Sakamoto Yusuke T. Maeda
Author information
JOURNAL OPEN ACCESS Advance online publication

Article ID: e200032


Single-cell behaviors cover many biological functions, such as cell division during morphogenesis and tissue metastasis, and cell migration during cancer cell invasion and immune cell responses. Symmetry breaking of the positioning of organelles and the cell shape are often associated with these biological functions. One of the main players in symmetry breaking at the cellular scale is the actin cytoskeleton, comprising actin filaments and myosin motors that generate contractile forces. However, because the self-organization of the actomyosin network is regulated by the biochemical signaling in cells, how the mechanical contraction of the actin cytoskeleton induces diverse self-organized behaviors and drives the cell-scale symmetry breaking remains unclear. In recent times, to understand the physical underpinnings of the symmetry breaking exhibited in the actin cytoskeleton, artificial cell models encapsulating the cytoplasmic actomyosin networks covered with lipid monolayers have been developed. By decoupling the actomyosin mechanics from the complex biochemical signaling within living cells, this system allows one to study the self-organization of actomyosin networks confined in cell-sized spaces. We review the recent developments in the physics of confined actomyosin networks and provide future perspectives on the artificial cell-based approach. This review article is an extended version of the Japanese article, The Physical Principle of Cell Migration Under Confinement: Artificial Cell-based Bottom-up Approach, published in SEIBUTSU BUTSURI Vol. 63, p. 163-164 (2023).

Fullsize Image
Content from these authors