Cells adhered to an external solid substrate are observed to exhibit rich dynamics of actin structures on the basal membrane, which are distinct from those observed on the dorsal (free) membrane. Here we explore the dynamics of curved membrane proteins, or protein complexes, that recruit actin polymerization when the membrane is confined by the solid substrate. Such curved proteins can induce the spontaneous formation of membrane protrusions on the dorsal side of cells. However, on the basal side of the cells, such protrusions can only extend as far as the solid substrate and this constraint can convert such protrusions into propagating wave-like structures. We also demonstrate that adhesion molecules can stabilize localized protrusions that resemble some features of podosomes. This coupling of curvature and actin forces may underlie the differences in the observed actin-membrane dynamics between the basal and dorsal sides of adhered cells.
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