Biopolymer network

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Biopolymer networks are interconnected strands of polymers from biological systems. Cell biology contains many such systems, which occur naturally in a huge range of different organisms including actin, collagen, and microtubules. They are used for various tasks such as cell motion, maintaining cell shape, cell division, and in the cell cytoskeleton. Cellulose is a ubiquitous biopolymer network, which makes up the cell walls of plants; it is also the main component of wood and paper [1]. Collagen is another kind of biopolymer, which is involved in the structure of bones, skin and internal organs, among many other uses in the human body [2]. Many of these large structural polymers in cells are formed from protein subunits.

Biopolymer networks can also be assembled from purified components in the laboratory. in vitro systems of biopolymers are used for the study of the mechanical and rheological studies of how these networks behave. These can help provide an understanding the behaviour of cellular systems as these networks have important roles in the cell and interesting physical and chemical properties.

Actin stained with phalloidin: (A) no cross-linker, (B) wild-type α-actinin-4, and (C) mutant α-actinin-4. Scale bar is <math>40\mu m</math> [3]

References

  1. "Biopolymer." Wikipedia.
  2. "Collagen." Wikipedia.
  3. S. M. Volkner Ward, A. Weins, M. R. Pollak, & D.A. Weitz., "Dynamic Viscoelasticity of Actin Cross-Linked with Wild-Type and Disease-Causing Mutant α-Actinin-4" Biophysical Journal, (2008), 95, 4915-4923.