Flagella-like beating of actin bundles driven by self-organized myosin waves

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Marie Pochitaloff - , Institut Curie, University of California at Santa Barbara (Author)
  • Martin Miranda - , Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (Author)
  • Mathieu Richard - , Institut Curie (Author)
  • Atitheb Chaiyasitdhi - , Institut Curie (Author)
  • Yasuharu Takagi - , National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Author)
  • Wenxiang Cao - , Yale University (Author)
  • Enrique M. De La Cruz - , Yale University (Author)
  • James R. Sellers - , National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Author)
  • Jean François Joanny - , Institut Curie, College de France (Author)
  • Frank Jülicher - , Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, TUD Dresden University of Technology, Clusters of Excellence PoL: Physics of Life (Author)
  • Laurent Blanchoin - , Université Grenoble Alpes, Hôpital Saint-Louis (Author)
  • Pascal Martin - , Institut Curie (Author)


Wave-like beating of eukaryotic cilia and flagella—threadlike protrusions found in many cells and microorganisms—is a classic example of spontaneous mechanical oscillations in biology. This type of self-organized active matter raises the question of the coordination mechanism between molecular motor activity and cytoskeletal filament bending. Here we show that in the presence of myosin motors, polymerizing actin filaments self-assemble into polar bundles that exhibit wave-like beating. Importantly, filament beating is associated with myosin density waves initiated at twice the frequency of the actin-bending waves. A theoretical description based on curvature control of motor binding to the filaments and of motor activity explains our observations in a regime of high internal friction. Overall, our results indicate that the binding of myosin to actin depends on the actin bundle shape, providing a feedback mechanism between the myosin activity and filament deformations for the self-organization of large motor filament assemblies.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1240-1247
Number of pages8
JournalNature physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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