Vesicles with internal active filaments: self-organized propulsion controls shape, motility, and dynamical response

Clara Abaurrea-Velasco, Thorsten Auth, Gerhard Gompper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Self-propulsion and navigation due to the sensing of environmental conditions - such as durotaxis and chemotaxis - are remarkable properties of biological cells that cannot be reproduced by single-component self-propelled particles. We introduce and study "flexocytes", deformable vesicles with enclosed attached self-propelled pushing and pulling filaments that align due to steric and membrane-mediated interactions. Using computer simulations in two dimensions, we show that the membrane deforms under the propulsion forces and forms shapes mimicking motile biological cells, such as keratocytes and neutrophils. When interacting with walls or with interfaces between different substrates, the internal structure of a flexocyte adapts, resulting in a preferred angle of reflection or deflection, respectively. We predict a correlation between motility patterns, shapes, characteristics of the internal forces, and the response to micropatterned substrates and external stimuli. We propose that engineered flexocytes with desired mechanosensitive capabilities enable the construction of soft-matter robots.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123024
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2019

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