Volume 106, Number 6, June 2014
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||19 June 2014|
A continuum model for hierarchical fibril assembly
1 Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Eindhoven University of Technology - P. O. Box 513, NL-5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
2 Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology - P. O. Box 513, NL-5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
3 Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology - P. O. Box 513, NL-5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Received: 26 March 2014
Accepted: 28 May 2014
Most of the biological polymers that make up our cells and tissues are hierarchically structured. For biopolymers ranging from collagen, to actin, to fibrin and amyloid fibrils this hierarchy provides vitally important versatility. The structural hierarchy must be encoded in the self-assembly process, from the earliest stages onward, in order to produce the appropriate substructures. In this letter, we explore the kinetics of multistage self-assembly processes in a model system which allows comparison to bulk probes such as light scattering. We apply our model to recent turbidimetry data on the self-assembly of collagen fibrils. Our analysis suggests a connection between diffusion-limited aggregation kinetics and fibril growth, supported by slow, power-law growth at very long time scales.
PACS: 82.20.-w – Chemical kinetics and dynamics / 87.15.rp – Polymerization / 81.16.Dn – Self-assembly
© EPLA, 2014
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