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J Biol Eng. 2012 Dec 27;6(1):23. doi: 10.1186/1754-1611-6-23.

Microtubule asters as templates for nanomaterials assembly.

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  • 1Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. jcatchmark@engr.psu.edu.


Self organization of the kinesin-microtubule system was implemented as a novel template to create percolated nanofiber networks. Asters of microtubule seeds were immobilized on glass surfaces and their growth was recorded over time. The individual aster islands became interconnected as microtubules grew and overlapped, resulting in a highly percolated network. Cellulose nanowhiskers were used to demonstrate the application of this system to nanomaterials organization. The size distribution of the cellulose nanowhiskers was comparable to that of microtubules. To link cellulose nanowhiskers to microtubules, the nanowhiskers were functionalized by biotin using cellulose binding domains. Fluorescence studies confirmed biotinylation of cellulose nanowhiskers and binding of cellulose nanowhiskers to biotinylated microtubules.

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