Microrheology of Microtubule Solutions and Actin-Microtubule Composite Networks

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Microrheology of Microtubule Solutions and Actin-Microtubule Composite Networks, Vincent Pelletier, Naama Gal, Paul Fournier and Maria Kilfoil, PRL vol.102 188303 (2009) [1]


Microrheology, Cytoskeleton, Viscoelasticity

Original Abstract from Paper

"We perform local or microrheological measurements on microtubule solutions, as well as composite networks. The viscoelastic properties of microtubules as reported from two-point microrheology agree with the macroscopic measurement at high frequencies, but appear to show a discrepancy at low frequencies, at time scales on the order of a second. A composite of filamentous actin (F-actin) and microtubules has viscoelastic behavior between that of F-actin and pure microtubules. We further show that the Poisson ratio of the composite, measured by the length-scale dependent two-point microrheology, is robustly smaller than that of the F-actin network at time scale <math>\tau</math> > 1 s, suggesting that a local compressibility is conferred by the addition of microtubules to the F-actin network."

Soft Matter

Figure 1

This paper investigates the viscoelastic properties of two key components of the cell's cytoskeleton: F-actin and microtubules. The cytoskeleton is what gives the cell its mechanical rigidity as well as aiding in transport processes within the cell wall, and in cell locomotion both by continually polymerizing and de-polymerizing thus forming a highly dynamic mesh. The mechanical properties of this mesh are highly influential to the cell's overall mechanical properties and are also crucial to specific cell processes such as cell division.