Actin and myosin proteins form ordered arrays and are responsible for the contraction of your muscles. However, they are also found in the cell cortex where they form a disordered network that is responsible for the structural stability and force generation of the cell. The cell cortex is dynamic, however, it remains stable allowing cell viability.

We study how and why the cell cortex can be driven to failure. To this end, we experimentally reconstitute an actin-myosin network as a 2D mimic of the cell cortex. To supplement these experiments, we also perform molecular dynamics simulations.