Volume 81, Number 1, January 2008
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||20 November 2007|
Hitchhiking through the cytoplasm
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia - PA 19104, USA
Accepted: 29 October 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.
PACS: 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
© EPLA, 2008
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