Spatio-Temporal Regulation of Rac1 Mobility by Actin Islands.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0143753
Rho GTPases play important roles in many aspects of cell migration, including polarity establishment and organizing actin cytoskeleton. In particular, the Rho GTPase Rac1 has been associated with the generation of protrusions at leading edge of migrating cells. Previously we showed the mobility of Rac1 molecules is not uniform throughout a migrating cell (Hinde E et. al. PNAS 2013). Specifically, the closer a Rac1 molecule is to the leading edge, the slower the molecule diffuses. Because actin-bound Rac1 diffuses slower than unbound Rac1, we hypothesized that regions of high actin concentration, called "actin islands", act as diffusive traps and are responsible for the non-uniform diffusion observed in vivo. Here, in silico model simulations demonstrate that equally spaced actin islands can regulate the time scale for Rac1 diffusion in a manner consistent with data from live-cell imaging experiments. Additionally, we find this mechanism is robust; different patterns of Rac1 mobility can be achieved by changing the actin islands' positions or their affinity for Rac1.