Active cargo positioning in antiparallel transport networks
Cellular functions rely on small groups of molecular motors to transport their cargoes throughout the cell along polar filaments of the cytoskeleton. Cytoskeletal filaments self-assemble into dense networks comprising intersections and filaments of mixed polarity, challenging directed motor-based transport. Using micropatterns of actin polymerization in vitro, we investigated stochastic transport of colloidal beads in antiparallel networks of overlapping actin filaments. We found that beads coated with myosin motors sensed the net polarity of the actin network, resulting in active bead positioning to regions of neutral polarity with a precision depending on the motor type. A theoretical description of our experimental results provides the key physical rules for cargo transport and positioning in filament networks of mixed polarity.