Ernst-Ludwig Florin – Microtubules: A prototype for biological and manmade fiber bundles
Speaker: Ernst-Ludwig Florin, PhD.
Location: Goldwater 487
Date & Time: October 26th, 2011 4:00 p.m.
Title: Microtubules: A prototype for biological and manmade fiber bundles
Abstract: Microtubules are part of the cytoskeleton and are involved in a large number of fundamental cellular processes such as cell division or intracellular transport. Due to their essential role in cell division, they are among the most successful targets for anticancer therapy. Individual microtubules are 25 nm thin and up to 100 Âµm long tube-like biopolymers built from even smaller fibers called protofilmaments. The protofilament architecture leads to unusual mechanical properties, such as a length dependence of the persistence length, not found in any manmade material. In my presentation, I will describe recent experimental results and present a model that explains how the length dependence of the persistence length arises from the protofilament architecture and local interactions between adjacent filaments. Implications for the regulation ofmicrotubule stiffness in cells and possible evolutionary advantages of thiscontrol will be discussed. Finally, I will show that the model can be used to describe the mechanical response of a wide range of biopolymer bundles and may help for instance in the efficient design of new multifunctional materials based on carbon nanotubes.
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