Motor-mediated alignment of microtubules in semidilute mixtures

Sumanth Swaminathan, Falko Ziebert, Dmitry Karpeev, Igor S. Aranson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We propose and study a model of molecular motor-induced ordering in a cytoskeletal filament solution for the semidilute case. Motors attach to a pair of filaments and walk along the pair bringing them into closer alignment. In the semidilute regime multiple motors can bind a filament to several others and, for a critical motor density, induce a transition to an ordered phase with a nonzero mean orientation. The motors, on the one hand, cause closer filament alignment, and, on the other hand, induce fluctuations that are dependent on the relative orientation of the filaments to which the motors are attached. We develop a spatially homogenous, mean-field theory that explicitly accounts for a force-dependent detachment rate of motors, which in turn affects the mean and the fluctuations of the net force acting on a filament. This model considers each filament to be in motor contact with all other filaments in the solution. We show that the transition to the oriented state changes from second order to first order when the force-dependent detachment becomes important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number036207
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 3 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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