Building an artificial actin cortex on microscopic pillar arrays

R. Ayadi, W.H. Roos

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Eukaryotic cells obtain their morphology and mechanical strength from the cytoskeleton and in particular from the cross-linked actin network that branches throughout the whole cell. This actin cortex lies like a quasi-two-dimensional (2D) biopolymer network just below the cell membrane, to which it is attached. In the quest for building an artificial cell, one needs to make a biomimetic model of the actin cortex and combine this in a bottom-up approach with other "synthetic" components. Here, we describe a reconstitution method for such an artificial actin cortex, which is freely suspended on top of a regular array of pillars. By this immobilization method, the actin network is only attached to a surface at discrete points and can fluctuate freely in between. By discussing the method to make the micropillars and the way to reconstitute a quasi-2D actin network on top, we show how one can study an isolated, reconstituted part of a cell. This allows the study of fundamental interaction mechanisms of actin networks, providing handles to design a functional actin cortex in an artificial cell.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-124
JournalMethods in Cell Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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