Article: article from journal or magazin.
Oscillation modes of microtubules.
Biology of the Cell
Microtubules are long, filamentous protein complexes which play a central role in several cellular physiological processes, such as cell division transport and locomotion. Their mechanical properties are extremely important since they determine the biological function. In a recently published experiment [Phys. Rev. Lett. 89 (2002) 248101], microtubule's Young's and shear moduli were simultaneously measured, proving that they are highly anisotropic. Together with the known structure, this finding opens the way to better understand and predict their mechanical behavior under a particular set of conditions. In the present study, we modeled microtubules by using the finite elements method and analyzed their oscillation modes. The analysis revealed that oscillation modes involving a change in the diameter of the microtubules strongly depend on the shear modulus. In these modes, the correlation times of the movements are just slightly shorter than diffusion times of free molecules surrounding the microtubule. It could be therefore speculated that the matching of the two timescales could play a role in facilitating the interactions between microtubules and MT associated proteins, and between microtubules and tubulins themselves.
Animals, Caenorhabditis elegans/physiology, Humans, Microtubules/physiology, Models, Biological
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