Volume 84, Number 1, October 2008
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||23 September 2008|
Buckling and force propagation along intracellular microtubules
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vrije Universiteit - Amsterdam, The Netherlands, EU
2 The Aspen Center for Physics - Aspen, CO 81611, USA
3 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and University of California - Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA California Nanosystems Institute, University of California - Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 27 August 2008
Motivated by recent experiments showing the compressive buckling of microtubules in cells, we study theoretically the mechanical response of and force propagation along elastic filaments embedded in a non-linear elastic medium. We find that embedded microtubules buckle when their compressive load exceeds a critical value fc, and that the resulting deformation is restricted to a penetration depth that depends on both the non-linear material properties of the surrounding cytoskeleton, as well as the direct coupling of the microtubule to the cytoskeleton. The deformation amplitude depends on the applied load as . This work shows how the range of compressive force transmission by microtubules can be tens of microns and is governed by the mechanical coupling to the surrounding cytoskeleton.
PACS: 87.16.Ka – Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies / 62.20.de – Elastic Moduli / 82.35.Pq – Biopolymers, biopolymerization
© EPLA, 2008
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