Cell polarization and role of actin cables

Polar growth of fission yeast depends on the nucleation and growth of actin cables at growing cell tips. We are interested in understanding how cells use these mechanisms to establish monopolar and bipolar growth patterns and how these patterns contribute to cell shape.

In collaboration with the lab of Fulvia Verde (University of Miami) we studied the kinetics of polarity protein Cdc42 that exhibits anti-correlated oscillations at cell tips. Click here to read about our model of Cdc42 oscillations and how they contribute to the initiation of bipolar growth (Science 2012).

 In a model of formin-mediated actin polymerization, we examined retrograde flow of actin cables toward the cell center, formin dissociation from cell tips, and cable disassembly, based on a mechanism proposed by Martin and Chang (Curr. Biol. 16:1161, 2006).  A graphical Java simulation of the model allowing the user to change parameters values is available here.

Our work is also assisted by methods for segmentation and tracking of actin cables in microscopic images (click here).  



  1. T. Drake and D. Vavylonis, "Model of fission yeast cell shape driven by membrane-bound growth factors and the cytoskeleton," PLOS COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, 9:e1003287 (2013).
  2. M. Das, T. Drake, D. Wiley, P. Buchwald, D. Vavylonis and F. Verde, "Oscillatory dynamics of Cdc42 GTPase in the control of polarized growth," SCIENCE 337:239-243 (2012).  
  3. T. Drake, E. Yusuf and D. Vavylonis, "A Systems-Biology Approach to Yeast Actin Cables", in "Advances in Systems Biology", Springer series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 736:325-35 (2012).  
  4. T. Drake and D. Vavylonis, "Cytoskeletal Dynamics in Fission Yeast: A Review of Models for Polarization and Division," HFSP J., 4 122-130 (2010).
  5. H. Wang and D. Vavylonis, "Model of For3p-mediated actin cable assembly in fission yeast," Plos ONE, 3 e4078 (2008).