Microtubules and motor proteins: Mechanically regulated self-organization in vivo
Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany
3 Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, 000 Zagreb, Croatia
Corresponding author: email@example.com
A key aspect of life is sexual reproduction, which requires concerted movement. For successful mixing of the genetic material, molecular motors move the nucleus back and forth inside the cell. How motors work together to produce these large-scale movements, however, remains a mystery. To answer this question, we studied nuclear movement in fission yeast, which is driven by motor proteins pulling on microtubules. We show that motor proteins dynamically redistribute from one part of the cell to the other, generating asymmetric patterns of motors and, consequently, of forces that generate movement. By combining quantitative live cell imaging and laser ablation with a theoretical model, we find that this dynamic motor redistribution occurs purely as a result of changes in the mechanical strain sensed by the motor proteins. Our work therefore demonstrates that spatio-temporal pattern formation within a cell can occur as a result of mechanical cues (Vogel et al., 2009), which differs from conventional molecular signaling, as well as from self-organization based on a combination of biochemical reactions and diffusion.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2010