skip to main content


Title: Microtubule-based nanomaterials: Exploiting nature's dynamic biopolymers

For more than a decade now, biomolecular systems have served as an inspiration for the development of synthetic nanomaterials and systems that are capable of reproducing many of unique and emergent behaviors of living systems. In addition, one intriguing element of such systems may be found in a specialized class of proteins known as biomolecular motors that are capable of performing useful work across multiple length scales through the efficient conversion of chemical energy. Microtubule (MT) filaments may be considered within this context as their dynamic assembly and disassembly dissipate energy, and perform work within the cell. MTs are one of three cytoskeletal filaments in eukaryotic cells, and play critical roles in a range of cellular processes including mitosis and vesicular trafficking. Based on their function, physical attributes, and unique dynamics, MTs also serve as a powerful archetype of a supramolecular filament that underlies and drives multiscale emergent behaviors. In this review, we briefly summarize recent efforts to generate hybrid and composite nanomaterials using MTs as biomolecular scaffolds, as well as computational and synthetic approaches to develop synthetic one-dimensional nanostructures that display the enviable attributes of the natural filaments.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0006-3592; 567369
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 112; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 0006-3592
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; biomineralization; energy dissipation; molecular dynamics; cytoskeleton; dynamic instability; biomolecular motors
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1400902