Cytoplasmic streaming in characean algae is thought to be driven by interaction between stationary subcortical actin bundles and motile endoplasmic myosin. Implicit in this mechanism is a requirement for some form of coupling to transfer motive force from the moving myosin to the endoplasm. Three models of viscous coupling between myosin and endoplasm are presented here, and the hydrodynamic feasibility of each model is analyzed. The results show that individual myosinlike molecules moving along the actin bundles at reasonable velocities cannot exert enough viscous pull on the endoplasm to account for the observed streaming. Attachment of myosin to small spherical organelles improves viscous coupling to the endoplasm, but results for this model show that streaming can be generated only if the myosin-spheres move along the actin bundles in a virtual solid line at about twice the streaming velocity. In the third model, myosin is incorporated into a fibrous or membranous network or gel extending into the endoplasm. This network is pulled forward as the attached myosin slides along the actin bundles. Using network dimensions estimated from published micrographs of characean endoplasm, the results show that this system can easily generate the observed cytoplasmic streaming.

This content is only available as a PDF.