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The enigma of microtubules and their self-organizing behavior in the cytoskeleton

Authors
Journal
Biosystems
0303-2647
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
42
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0303-2647(97)01704-8
Keywords
  • Microtubules
  • Self Organization
  • Tubulin
  • Modeling
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

Abstract The cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells contains networks of protein polymers called microtubules which structurally and functionally organize their interiors. Both in vivo and in vitro microtubules exhibit a fascinating and yet poorly understood array of important functions involving complex self-organization phenomena which are very sensitive to physiological and laboratory conditions, respectively. In this paper we discuss the main physical characteristics of microtubules focusing our attention on four particular aspects: (a) the dynamics of their assembly and disassembly processes (b) the types and the range of existence of ordered dipolar phases and (c) modes of energy transfer and (d) information processing capabilities.

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