Chalmers Conferences, 9th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology

Model and Simulation of Actin-dependent Cell Movement
Angelika Manhart

Last modified: 2014-03-28


Several types of cells use a sheet-like structure called lamellipodium for movement. The main structural components, actin filaments, are connected via cross-linking proteins. Adhesions allow for a connection with the substrate and the contraction agent myosin helps pulling the cell body forward. Additionally the cell has to regulate its filament number locally by nucleation (via branching) of new filaments and degradation (via capping and severing) of existing ones.

I will present a continuous model of this structure including the forces created by the described molecular players. The non-linear PDE model is based on an variational approach and approximated using the finite element method with non-standard finite elements. The simulation can reproduce stationary and moving steady states, describe the transition between the two, mimic chemotaxis, describe interaction with an obstacle and simulate turning cells.


Lamellipodia; Cell Movement; Actin; Finite Element Method