Volume 78, Number 1, April 2007
Article Number 18001
Number of page(s) 5
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 14 March 2007
EPL, 78 (2007) 18001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/78/18001

Hydrodynamic flow caused by active transport along cytoskeletal elements

D. Houtman1, I. Pagonabarraga2, C. P. Lowe1, A. Esseling-Ozdoba3, A. M. C. Emons3 and E. Eiser1

1  Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS), Universiteit van Amsterdam - Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2  Departament de Física Fonamental, Universitat de Barcelona - Carrer Martí i Franqués 1, 08028-Barcelona, Spain
3  Wageningen University, Laboratory of Plant Cell Biology - Arboretumlaan 4, 6703 BD Wageningen, The Netherlands

received 9 July 2006; accepted in final form 12 February 2007; published April 2007
published online 14 March 2007

We develop a simple lattice model to describe the hydrodynamic influence of active mass transport along bio-filaments on freely diffusing mass in the cell. To quantify the overall mass transport we include Brownian motion, excluded volume interactions, active transport along the filaments, and hydrodynamic interactions. The model shows that the hydrodynamic forces induced by molecular motors attached to the filaments give rise to a non-negligible flux close to the filament. This additional flux appears to have two effects. Depending on the degree of filament occupation it can exert a sufficiently large influence on unbound motors and cargo to modify their transport and also regulate the flux of motors bound to the filament. We expect such a mechanism is important in situations found in plant cells, where directional transport spans the entire cell. In particular, it can explain the cytoplasmic streaming observed in plant cells.

87.16.Nn - Motor proteins (myosin, kinesin dynein).
67.40.Hf - Hydrodynamics in specific geometries, flow in narrow channels.
05.40.-a - Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion.

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007