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PLoS One 2013 Jan 01;83:e59010. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059010.
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Islands of conformational stability for filopodia.

Daniels DR , Turner MS .

Filopodia are long, thin protrusions formed when bundles of fibers grow outwardly from a cell surface while remaining closed in a membrane tube. We study the subtle issue of the mechanical stability of such filopodia and how this depends on the deformation of the membrane that arises when the fiber bundle adopts a helical configuration. We calculate the ground state conformation of such filopodia, taking into account the steric interaction between the membrane and the enclosed semiflexible fiber bundle. For typical filopodia we find that a minimum number of fibers is required for filopodium stability. Our calculation elucidates how experimentally observed filopodia can obviate the classical Euler buckling condition and remain stable up to several tens of μm. We briefly discuss how experimental observation of the results obtained in this work for the helical-like deformations of enclosing membrane tubes in filopodia could possibly be observed in the acrosomal reactions of the sea cucumber Thyone, and the horseshoe crab Limulus. Any realistic future theories for filopodium stability are likely to rely on an accurate treatment of such steric effects, as analysed in this work.

PubMed ID: 23555612
PMC ID: PMC3605414
Article link: PLoS One

Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC115919910

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References [+] :
Briehl, Nucleation, fiber growth and melting, and domain formation and structure in sickle cell hemoglobin gels. 1995, Pubmed