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Title: Mechanisms underlying the active self-assembly of microtubule rings and spools

Here, active self-assembly offers a powerful route for the creation of dynamic multiscale structures that are presently inaccessible with standard microfabrication techniques. One such system uses the translation of microtubule filaments by surface-tethered kinesin to actively assemble nanocomposites with bundle, ring, and spool morphologies. Attempts to observe mechanisms involved in this active assembly system have been hampered by experimental difficulties with performing observation during buffer exchange and photodamage from fluorescent excitation. In the present work, we used a custom microfluidic device to remove these limitations and directly study ring/spool formation, including the earliest events (nucleation) that drive subsequent nanocomposite assembly. Three distinct formation events were observed: pinning, collisions, and induced curvature. Of these three, collisions accounted for the majority of event leading to ring/spool formation, while the rate of pinning was shown to be dependent on the amount of photodamage in the system. We further showed that formation mechanism directly affects the diameter and rotation direction of the resultant rings and spools. Overall, the fundamental understanding described in this work provides a foundation by which the properties of motor-driven, actively assembled nanocomposites may be tailored toward specific applications.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1525-7797; 621994
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1525-7797
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; kinesin; microtubule; spool; active-self-assembly
OSTI Identifier: