Harvard Condensed Matter Theory Seminars

Otger Campas , Institut Curie, Paris

Cooperative extraction of membrane tubes by molecular motors
Large and highly branched networks of membrane nanotubes extend between different compartments in eukaryotic cells. These membrane tubes play an important role in intracellular traffic, in particular for lipid and protein exchange between organelles. It has been shown that processive molecular motors (such as kinesins or dyneins) and microtubules are essential for the formation of membrane tubes. We study, both theoretically and experimentally, the process of tube extraction by kinesin motors. It is shown that there exists a threshold motor concentration necessary to extract membrane tubes and that the collective motor dynamics leads to highly non-linear tube oscillations. We also study the large scale traffic of motors and analyze the inhomogeneities in the motor distribution along the tube (e.g. traffic jams). The quantitative comparison of the theoretical results and the experimental data allows the determination of kinetic parameters of individual kinesin motors.

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