Seminar by Veneta Gerganova

Cell patterning by secretion induced membrane flows

Veneta Valerieva Gerganova, Lausanne University

Cells self-organize using reaction-diffusion and fluid-flow principles. Whether bulk membrane flows contribute to cell patterning has not been established. Here, using mathematical modelling, optogenetics and synthetic probes, we show that polarized exocytosis causes lateral membrane flows away from regions of membrane insertion. Plasma membrane-associated proteins with sufficiently low diffusion and/or detachment rates couple to the flows and deplete from areas of exocytosis. In rod-shaped fission yeast cells, zones of Cdc42 GTPase activity driving polarized exocytosis are limited by GTPase activating proteins (GAPs). We show that membrane flows pattern the GAP Rga4 distribution and coupling of a synthetic GAP to membrane flows is sufficient to establish the rod shape. Thus, membrane flows induced by Cdc42-dependent exocytosis form a negative feedback restricting the zone of Cdc42 activity.