Volume 86, Number 2, April 2009
Article Number 26003
Number of page(s) 6
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 29 April 2009
EPL, 86 (2009) 26003
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/86/26003

Direct observation of the tube model in F-actin solutions: Tube dimensions and curvatures

M. Romanowska1, 2, H. Hinsch3, N. Kirchgeßner1, M. Giesen1, M. Degawa4, B. Hoffmann1, E. Frey3 and R. Merkel1

1   Institute of Bio- and Nanosystems 4: Biomechanics, Research Centre Jülich - 52425 Jülich, Germany, EU
2   Marian Smoluchowski Institut of Physics, Jagiellonian University Kraków - Reymonta 4, 30-059 Kraków, Poland, EU
3   Arnold Sommerfeld Center for Theoretical Physics and Center for Nanoscience, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 80333 Munich, Germany, EU
4   Laboratory of Molecular Dynamics, Brain Science Institute, RIKEN - Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

received 8 December 2008; accepted in final form 18 March 2009; published April 2009
published online 29 April 2009

Mutual uncrossability of polymers generates topological constraints on their conformations and dynamics, which are generally described using the tube model. We imaged confinement tubes for individual polymers within a F-actin solution by sampling over many successive micrographs of fluorescently labeled probe filaments. The resulting average tube width shows the predicted scaling behavior. Unexpectedly, we found an exponential distribution of tube curvatures which is attributed to transient entropic trapping in network void spaces.

61.25.H- - Macromolecular and polymers solutions; polymer melts.
82.35.Pq - Biopolymers, biopolymerization.
87.16.Ln - Cytoskeleton.

© EPLA 2009