Europhys. Lett.
Volume 73, Number 3, February 2006
Page(s) 464 - 470
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 23 December 2005
Europhys. Lett., 73 (3), pp. 464-470 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10410-x

Inter-filament attractions narrow the length distribution of actin filaments

D. Biron1, E. Moses1, I. Borukhov2 and S. A. Safran2

1  Weizmann Institute of Science, Departments of Physics of Complex Systems Rehovot 76100, Israel
2  Weizmann Institute of Science, Departments of Materials and Interfaces Rehovot 76100, Israel

received 20 August 2005; accepted in final form 5 December 2005
published online 23 December 2005

We show that the exponential length distribution that is typical of actin filaments under physiological conditions dramatically narrows in the presence of i) crosslinker proteins or ii) polyvalent counterions or iii) depletion-mediated attractions. A simple theoretical model shows that, at equilibrium, short-range attractions that are known to enhance the tendency of filaments to align parallel to each other, lead to an increase in the average filament length and a decrease in the relative width of the distribution of filament lengths.

87.16.Ka - Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies.
87.15.Nn - Properties of solutions; aggregation and crystallization of macromolecules.

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