Thursday, November 22, 2012

1211.5019 (Congping Lin et al.)

A model for motor-mediated bidirectional transport along an antipolar
microtubule bundle

Congping Lin, Peter Ashwin, Gero Steinberg
Long-distance bidirectional transport of organelles depends on the motor proteins kinesin and dynein. Using quantitative data obtained from a fungal model system, we previously developed ASEP-models of bidirectional motion of motors along unipolar microtubules (MTs) near the cell ends of the elongated hyphal cells (herein referred as "unipolar section"). However, recent quantitative live cell imaging in this system has demonstrated that long-range motility of motors and their endosomal cargo mainly occurs along extended antipolar microtubule bundles within the central part of the cell (herein referred to as "bipolar section"). Dynein and kinesin-3 motors coordinate their activity to move early endosomes (EEs) in a bidirectional fashion, with dynein mediating retrograde motility along the unipolar section near the cell poles, whereas kinesin-3 is responsible for bidirectional motions along the antipolar section. Here we extend our modelling approach to simulate bidirectional motility along an antipolar microtubule bundle. In our model, cargos (particles) change direction on each MT with a turning rate $\Omega$ and the MTs are linked to each other at the minus ends where particles can hop between MTs with a rate $q_1$ (obstacle-induced switching rate) or $q_2$ (end-induced switching rate). By numerical simulations and mean-field approximations, we investigate the distribution of particles along the MTs for different overall densities $\Theta$. We find that even if $\Theta$ is low, the system can exhibit shocks in the density profiles near plus and minus ends caused by queueing of particles. We also discuss how the switching rates $q_{1,2}$ influence the type of motor that dominates the active transport in the bundle.
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