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Friday, 22 June, 2012

Microtubule Length Regulation by Molecular Motors

A. Melbinger, L. Reese, and E. Frey -
Phys. Rev. Lett., Vol. 108 (25), 258104 (2012)

Length regulation of microtubules (MTs) is essential for many cellular processes. Molecular motors like kinesin-8, which move along MTs and also act as depolymerases, are known as key players in MT dynamics. However, the regulatory mechanisms of length control remain elusive. Here, we investigate a stochastic model accounting for the interplay between polymerization kinetics and motor-induced depolymerization. We determine the dependence of MT length and variance on rate constants and motor concentration. Moreover, our analyses reveal how collective phenomena lead to a well-defined MT length.


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