Volume 81, Number 4, February 2008
Article Number 48003
Number of page(s) 5
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 17 January 2008
EPL, 81 (2008) 48003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/48003

Dynamic stability of spindles controlled by molecular motor kinetics

O. Campàs1, 2, J. Casademunt2 and I. Pagonabarraga3

1  Institut Curie, UMR 168 - 26 rue d'Ulm, F-75248 Paris Cedex 05, France
2  Departament d'ECM, Universitat de Barcelona - Avinguda Diagonal 647, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain
3  Departament de Física Fonamental, Universitat de Barcelona - Avinguda Diagonal 647, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain

received 17 August 2007; accepted in final form 13 December 2007; published February 2008
published online 17 January 2008

We analyze the role of the force-dependent kinetics of motor proteins in the stability of antiparallel arrays of polar filaments, such as those in the mitotic spindle. We determine the possible stable structures and show that there exists an instability associated to the collective behavior of motors that leads to the collapse of the structure. The agreement of our results and several experimental observations in eukaryotic cell division suggests an important role of kinesin-5 motors and microtubule bundles in the stability of the mitotic spindle.

87.16.Ac - Theory and modeling; computer simulation.
87.16.Nn - Motor proteins (myosin, kinesin dynein).
87.16.Ka - Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies.

© EPLA 2008