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A computational model of dynein activation patterns that can explain nodal cilia rotation

, : A computational model of dynein activation patterns that can explain nodal cilia rotation. Biophysical Journal 109(1): 35-48

Normal left-right patterning in vertebrates depends on the rotational movement of nodal cilia. In order to produce this ciliary motion, the activity of axonemal dyneins must be tightly regulated in a temporal and spatial manner; the specific activation pattern of the dynein motors in the nodal cilia has not been reported. Contemporary imaging techniques cannot directly assess dynein activity in a living cilium. In this study, we establish a three-dimensional model to mimic the ciliary ultrastructure and assume that the activation of dynein proteins is related to the interdoublet distance. By employing finite-element analysis and grid deformation techniques, we simulate the mechanical function of dyneins by pairs of point loads, investigate the time-variant interdoublet distance, and simulate the dynein-triggered ciliary motion. The computational results indicate that, to produce the rotational movement of nodal cilia, the dynein activity is transferred clockwise (looking from the tip) between the nine doublet microtubules, and along each microtubule, the dynein activation should occur faster at the basal region and slower when it is close to the ciliary tip. Moreover, the time cost by all the dyneins along one microtubule to be activated can be used to deduce the dynein activation pattern; it implies that, as an alternative method, measuring this time can indirectly reveal the dynein activity. The proposed protein-structure model can simulate the ciliary motion triggered by various dynein activation patterns explicitly and may contribute to furthering the studies on axonemal dynein activity.


PMID: 26153700

DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.05.027

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