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The role of actin protrusion dynamics in cell migration through a degradable viscoelastic extracellular matrix: Insights from a computational model

Fig 3

Protrusion formation, maturation and contraction.

(A) Protrusion particles are selected for which the actin cortex stiffness ks is lowered (red and yellow) and to which an actin protrusion force Fprot is applied (red). (B) ECM particles in contact with the protrusion force particles are degraded allowing the protrusion to form. (C) At the end of protrusion growth a cell-ECM adhesion is formed at the protrusion tip. (D) Boundary particles at the protrusion base are fixed and a contractile force Fmat is applied to the adhesion boundary particle. (E) After maturation the protrusion contracts and displaces the cell body in the protrusion direction, where the transparent circle indicates the influence area of the adhesion by using the smoothing kernel. (F) During maturation the contractile force is increased every time the adhesion is stretched above a threshold length. As the threshold is reached more frequent on a stiff ECM (red) compared to a soft ECM (blue), a protrusion generates more force in a stiffer ECM.

Fig 3