Hydrodynamic and Polyelectrolyte Properties of Actin Filaments: Theory and Experiments




Alva, Ernesto
George, Annitta
Brancaleon, Lorenzo
Marucho, Marcelo

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Actin filament’s polyelectrolyte and hydrodynamic properties, their interactions with the biological environment, and external force fields play an essential role in their biological activities in eukaryotic cellular processes. In this article, we introduce a unique approach that combines dynamics and electrophoresis light-scattering experiments, an extended semiflexible worm-like chain model, and an asymmetric polymer length distribution theory to characterize the polyelectrolyte and hydrodynamic properties of actin filaments in aqueous electrolyte solutions. A fitting approach was used to optimize the theories and filament models for hydrodynamic conditions. We used the same sample and experimental conditions and considered several g-actin and polymerization buffers to elucidate the impact of their chemical composition, reducing agents, pH values, and ionic strengths on the filament translational diffusion coefficient, electrophoretic mobility, structure factor, asymmetric length distribution, effective filament diameter, electric charge, zeta potential, and semiflexibility. Compared to those values obtained from molecular structure models, our results revealed a lower value of the effective G-actin charge and a more significant value of the effective filament diameter due to the formation of the double layer of the electrolyte surrounding the filaments. Contrary to the data usually reported from electron micrographs, the lower values of our results for the persistence length and average contour filament length agree with the significant difference in the association rates at the filament ends that shift to sub-micro lengths, which is the maximum of the length distribution.



actin filaments, semiflexible worm-like chain, asymmetric length distribution, diffusion coefficient, electrophoretic mobility, light scattering experiments


Polymers 14 (12): 2438 (2022)


Physics and Astronomy