Directing transport of CoFe2O4-functionalized microtubules with magnetic fields

Benjamin M. Hutchins, Mark Platt, William O. Hancock, Mary Elizabeth Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The external magnetic fields can be used to control the transport direction of magnetically labeled microtubules driven by kinesin motors in vitro without affecting their transport speed by selectively functionalizing microtubule segments with 20-nm CoFe2O4 magnetic nanoparticles. Kinesin motor proteins convert chemical energy derived from the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into mechanical energy to move intracellular cargo along microtubules, cylindrical polymers of the tubulin that act as intracellular conduits. This approach provides a significant alternative to serial methods such as optical tweezers. Magnetically labeled microtubules additionally provide a new tool for in vitro investigations of the role of microtubules and motors in important cellular processes such as cell division, axonal transport, and flagellar motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • Biomaterials


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