Collective Interactions of Motor Proteins and Filaments in the Cytoskeleton

How do motor proteins produce order in the cytoskeleton of cells?

Interactions of multiple molecular motors with actin and microtubule filaments form the basis of many cytoskeletal processes including axonal growth, muscle contraction, cell division and platelet formation. We develop computer simulations to study, on the molecular level, how motor proteins and cytoskeletal filaments generate forces and interact spontaneously to form organized structures in the cytoskeleton.  Our simulations allow us to study the dynamics of self-organization in large assemblies of filaments, comprising different types of motors at different densities and subject to different boundary conditions.

To read more on this research see:

  1. Zemel, Assaf, and Alex Mogilner. 2008. “Expansion And Polarity Sorting In Microtubule-Dynein Bundles.” Progress Of Theoretical Physics Supplement 173. Oxford University Press: 17–25.
  2. Jakobs, Maximilian, Kristian Franze, and Assaf Zemel. 2015. “Force Generation By Molecular-Motor-Powered Microtubule Bundles; Implications For Neuronal Polarization And Growth.” Frontiers In Cellular Neuroscience 9: 441.