Mathematical Biology Seminar

Tamar Shinar
Courant Institute
4:15PM, Friday, February 4, 2011
LCB 219
Numerical studies of microtubule-based motion in the single-celled C. elegans embryo

Abstract: We develop a simple model of microtubule-based pronuclear motion in a single-celled C. elegans embryo. The model consists of a model for microtubule dynamic instability, a Newtonian, viscous fluid contained within an enclosing geometry for the cytoplasm, a rigid body for the pronucleus, and a motor protein load-velocity relationship. Motor proteins distributed throughout the cytoplasm interact with microtubule filaments by sliding along them with a velocity that depends on their load. They in turn pull on the filaments, resulting in translation of the microtubule-bound pronucleus. Our simulations show pronuclear migration, and moreover, a robust pronuclear centration and rotation very similar to that observed in vivo. I will also briefly describe the numerical method for the coupled simulation of the Stokes fluid and rigid structures.