Supramolecular Assembly of Biological Molecules Purified from Bovine Nerve Cells: from Microtubule Bundles and Necklaces to Neurofilament Networks
Zach Wissner-Gross (March 16, 2009)
Supramolecular assembly of biological molecules purified from bovine nerve cells: from microtubule bundles and necklaces to neurofilament networks
Daniel J. Needleman, Janya B. Jones, Uri Raviv, Miguel A. Ojeda-Lopez, H. P. Miller, Y. Li, L. Wilson, and C. R. Safinya
Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 2005, 17, S3225-S3230
Soft matter keywords
Self-assembly, packing structure
Needleman et al. examine the behavior of neurofilaments (NFs) in vitro in solutions containing different polyelectrolytes (i.e., in different salt solutions). In short, they found that the NFs formed hexagonal bundles in solutions with containing cations with a greater charge and larger size, while the NFs formed what the authors term "living necklace bundles" in solutions containing bivalent cations (Figure 1). The authors go on to quantify this bundling via scattering experiments, although optical and electron micrographs seem to sufficiently reveal the bundling behaviors.
Soft matter discussion
I found it rather remarkable that NFs exhibit such different bundling behaviors in the presence of different cations.