Volume 115, Number 2, July 2016
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||11 August 2016|
Mechanical stability of bipolar spindle assembly
1 Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme - D-70569, Stuttgart, Germany
2 Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Stuttgart - D-70569, Stuttgart, Germany
3 Department of Physics, Savitribai Phule Pune University - Ganeshkhind, Pune 411007, India
Received: 11 May 2016
Accepted: 12 July 2016
Assembly and stability of mitotic spindle are governed by the interplay of various intra-cellular forces, e.g. the forces generated by motor proteins by sliding overlapping anti-parallel microtubules (MTs) polymerized from the opposite centrosomes, the interaction of kinetochores with MTs, and the interaction of MTs with the chromosome arms. We study the mechanical behavior and stability of spindle assembly within the framework of a minimal model which includes all these effects. For this model, we derive a closed-form analytical expression for the force acting between the centrosomes as a function of their separation distance and we show that an effective potential can be associated with the interactions at play. We obtain the stability diagram of spindle formation in terms of parameters characterizing the strength of motor sliding, repulsive forces generated by polymerizing MTs, and the forces arising out of the interaction of MTs with kinetochores. The stability diagram helps in quantifying the relative effects of the different interactions and elucidates the role of motor proteins in formation and inhibition of spindle structures during mitotic cell division. We also predict a regime of bistability for a certain parameter range, wherein the spindle structure can be stable for two different finite separation distances between centrosomes. This occurrence of bistability also suggests the mechanical versatility of such self-assembled spindle structures.
PACS: 87.16.A- – Theory, modeling, and simulations / 87.16.Ka – Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies / 87.17.Ee – Growth and division
© EPLA, 2016
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