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Title: Microtubules soften due to cross-sectional flattening

Abstract

We use optical trapping to continuously bend an isolated microtubule while simultaneously measuring the applied force and the resulting filament strain, thus allowing us to determine its elastic properties over a wide range of applied strains. We find that, while in the low-strain regime, microtubules may be quantitatively described in terms of the classical Euler-Bernoulli elastic filament, above a critical strain they deviate from this simple elastic model, showing a softening response with increasingdeformations. A three-dimensional thin-shell model, in which the increased mechanical compliance is caused by flattening and eventual buckling of the filament cross-section, captures this softening effect in the high strain regime and yields quantitative values of the effective mechanical properties of microtubules. Our results demonstrate that properties of microtubules are highly dependent on the magnitude of the applied strain and offer a new interpretation for the large variety in microtubule mechanical data measured by different methods.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
  2. Department of Physics, Brandeis University, Waltham, United States
  3. Department of Physics, Brandeis University, Waltham, United States, Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, United States
  4. Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States, Kavli Institute for Nano-Bio Science and Technology, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1439780
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1439781
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0010432TDD
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
eLife
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: eLife Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2050-084X
Publisher:
eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Memet, Edvin, Hilitski, Feodor, Morris, Margaret A., Schwenger, Walter J., Dogic, Zvonimir, and Mahadevan, L.. Microtubules soften due to cross-sectional flattening. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.7554/eLife.34695.
Memet, Edvin, Hilitski, Feodor, Morris, Margaret A., Schwenger, Walter J., Dogic, Zvonimir, & Mahadevan, L.. Microtubules soften due to cross-sectional flattening. United States. doi:10.7554/eLife.34695.
Memet, Edvin, Hilitski, Feodor, Morris, Margaret A., Schwenger, Walter J., Dogic, Zvonimir, and Mahadevan, L.. Fri . "Microtubules soften due to cross-sectional flattening". United States. doi:10.7554/eLife.34695.
@article{osti_1439780,
title = {Microtubules soften due to cross-sectional flattening},
author = {Memet, Edvin and Hilitski, Feodor and Morris, Margaret A. and Schwenger, Walter J. and Dogic, Zvonimir and Mahadevan, L.},
abstractNote = {We use optical trapping to continuously bend an isolated microtubule while simultaneously measuring the applied force and the resulting filament strain, thus allowing us to determine its elastic properties over a wide range of applied strains. We find that, while in the low-strain regime, microtubules may be quantitatively described in terms of the classical Euler-Bernoulli elastic filament, above a critical strain they deviate from this simple elastic model, showing a softening response with increasingdeformations. A three-dimensional thin-shell model, in which the increased mechanical compliance is caused by flattening and eventual buckling of the filament cross-section, captures this softening effect in the high strain regime and yields quantitative values of the effective mechanical properties of microtubules. Our results demonstrate that properties of microtubules are highly dependent on the magnitude of the applied strain and offer a new interpretation for the large variety in microtubule mechanical data measured by different methods.},
doi = {10.7554/eLife.34695},
journal = {eLife},
number = ,
volume = 7,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jun 01 00:00:00 EDT 2018},
month = {Fri Jun 01 00:00:00 EDT 2018}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.7554/eLife.34695

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Works referenced in this record:

Advances in the science and technology of carbon nanotubes and their composites: a review
journal, October 2001

  • Thostenson, Erik T.; Ren, Zhifeng; Chou, Tsu-Wei
  • Composites Science and Technology, Vol. 61, Issue 13, p. 1899-1912
  • DOI: 10.1016/S0266-3538(01)00094-X