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Cryoelectron Tomography Reveals Nanoscale Organization of the Cytoskeleton and Its Relation to Microtubule Curvature Inside Cells

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Chakraborty,  Saikat
Baumeister, Wolfgang / Molecular Structural Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Mahamid,  Julia
Baumeister, Wolfgang / Molecular Structural Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Baumeister,  Wolfgang
Baumeister, Wolfgang / Molecular Structural Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Chakraborty, S., Mahamid, J., & Baumeister, W. (2020). Cryoelectron Tomography Reveals Nanoscale Organization of the Cytoskeleton and Its Relation to Microtubule Curvature Inside Cells. Structure, 28(9), 991-1003.e4. doi:10.1016/j.str.2020.05.013.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-14EA-B
Abstract
Microtubules (MTs) are the most rigid elements of the cytoskeleton with in vitro persistence lengths (L-p) in the range of 1-6 mm. In cellular environments, however, MTs often appear strongly curved. This has been attributed to the forces acting upon them in situ where they are embedded in composite networks of different cytoskeletal elements. Hitherto, the nanoscale organization of these networks has remained largely uncharacterized. Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) allowed to visualize and analyze the in situ structure of cytoskeletal networks in pristinely preserved cellular environments and at high resolution. Here, we studied the molecular organization of MTs and their interactions with the composite cytoskeleton in frozen-hydrated HeLa and P19 cells at different cell-cycle stages. We describe modulation of MT curvature correlated with the surrounding molecular architecture, and show that nanoscale defects occur in curved MTs. The data presented here contribute to constructing realistic models of cytoskeletal biomechanics.