Interactions of semiflexible filaments and molecular motors

Dmitry Karpeev, Igor S. Aranson, Lev S. Tsimring, Hans G. Kaper

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15 Scopus citations


This paper summarizes the results of numerical simulations of the interaction of a pair of biofilaments mediated by a molecular motor. The filaments are modeled as flexible rods, and the results are applicable to microtubules, which are relatively stiff, as well as to much softer filaments, such as actin. The results provide insight into the effects of flexibility on cytoskeleton formation and the rheology of semiflexible filament networks. The simulations are based on a nonlinear elasticity equation. The results show that flexibility enhances the tendency of filaments to align. The enhancement in turn favors the formation of large-scale structures in multifilament systems. Simulations for soft filaments show that the action of the motor can result in the formation of multiple loops of the filaments as a result of buckling, which can affect the structure of a cross-linked network and thereby its rheology. The estimate for the minimal buckling length as a function of the motor speed, the viscosity of the solvent, and the bending stiffness of the filament is derived analytically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051905
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 6 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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