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One ubiquitous cellular structure for performing various tasks, such as spreading and migration over external surfaces, is the sheet-like protrusion called a lamellipodium, which propels the leading edge of the cell. Despite the detailed knowledge about the many components of this cellular structure, it is not yet fully understood how these components self-organize spatiotemporally to form lamellipodia. We review here recent theoretical works where we have demonstrated that membrane-bound protein complexes that have intrinsic curvature and recruit the protrusive forces of the cytoskeleton result in a simple, yet highly robust, organizing feedback mechanism that organizes the cytoskeleton and the membrane. This self-organization mechanism accounts for the formation of flat lamellipodia at the leading edge of cells spreading over adhesive substrates, allowing for the emergence of a polarized, motile 'minimal cell' model. The same mechanism describes how lamellipodia organize to drive robust engulfment of particles during phagocytosis and explains in simple physical terms the spreading and migration of cells over fibers and other curved surfaces. This Review highlights that despite the complexity of cellular composition, there might be simple general physical principles that are utilized by the cell to drive cellular shape dynamics. © 2023. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Raj Kumar Sadhu, Aleš Iglič, Nir S Gov. A minimal cell model for lamellipodia-based cellular dynamics and migration. Journal of cell science. 2023 Jul 15;136(14)

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PMID: 37497740

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