Hitchhiking through the cytoplasmI. M. Kulic and P. C. Nelson
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia - PA 19104, USA
received 3 April 2007; accepted in final form 29 October 2007; published January 2008
published online 20 November 2007
We propose an alternative mechanism for intracellular cargo transport which results from motor-induced longitudinal fluctuations of cytoskeletal microtubules (MTs). The longitudinal fluctuations combined with transient cargo binding to the MTs lead to long-range transport even for cargos and vesicles having no molecular motors on them. The proposed transport mechanism, which we call "hitchhiking", provides a possible explanation for the broadly observed yet still mysterious phenomenon of bidirectional transport along MTs. We show that cells exploiting the hitchhiking mechanism can effectively up- and down-regulate the transport of different vesicles by tuning their binding kinetics to characteristic MT oscillation frequencies.
87.15.Kg - Molecular interactions; membrane-protein interactions.
87.16.-b - Subcellular structure and processes.
82.37.Rs - Single molecule manipulation of proteins and other biological molecules.
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