A one-dimensional moving-boundary model for tubulin-driven axonal growth.

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A one-dimensional continuum-mechanical model of axonal elongation due to assembly of tubulin dimers in the growth cone is presented. The conservation of mass leads to a coupled system of three differential equations. A partial differential equation models the dynamic and the spatial behaviour of the concentration of tubulin that is transported along the axon from the soma to the growth cone. Two ordinary differential equations describe the time-variation of the concentration of free tubulin in the growth cone and the speed of elongation. All steady-state solutions of the model are categorized. Given a set of the biological parameter values, it is shown how one easily can infer whether there exist zero, one or two steady-state solutions and directly determine the possible steady-state lengths of the axon. Explicit expressions are given for each stationary concentration distribution. It is thereby easy to examine the influence of each biological parameter on a steady state. Numerical simulations indicate that when there exist two steady states, the one with shorter axon length is unstable and the longer is stable. Another result is that, for nominal parameter values extracted from the literature, in a large portion of a fully grown axon the concentration of free tubulin is lower than both concentrations in the soma and in the growth cone.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Beräkningsmatematik
  • Neurovetenskaper
  • Cellbiologi
  • Matematik


Sidor (från-till)194-207
TidskriftJournal of Theoretical Biology
Utgåva nummerOnline 21 June 2014
StatusPublished - 2014
Peer review utfördJa