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An in vitro model system for cytoskeletal confinement

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Köster,  Sarah
Group Dynamics of biological matter, Department of Dynamics of Complex Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Pfohl,  Thomas
Group Dynamics of biological matter, Department of Dynamics of Complex Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Köster, S., & Pfohl, T. (2009). An in vitro model system for cytoskeletal confinement. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton, 66(10), 771-776. doi:10.1002/cm.20336.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-809C-C
Abstract
The motility, shape, and functionality of the cell depend sensitively on cytoskeletal mechanics which in turn is governed by the properties of filamentous proteins -mainly actin, microtubules, and intermediate filaments. These biopolymers are confined in the dense cytoplasm and therefore experience strong geometric constraints on their equilibrium thermal fluctuations. To obtain a better understanding of the influence of confinement on cytoskeletal filaments we study the thermal fluctuations of individual actin filaments in a microfluidic in vitro system by fluorescence microscopy and determine the persistence length of the filaments by analyzing the radial distribution function. A unique feature of this method is that we obtain the persistence length without detailed knowledge of the complete contour of the filament which makes the technique applicable to a broad range of biological polymers, including those with a persistence length smaller than the optical resolution.