Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Methods Enzymol. 2013;524:205-24. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-397945-2.00012-3.

Engineering oscillating microtubule bundles.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physics, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.


From motility of simple protists to determining the handedness of complex vertebrates, highly conserved eukaryotic cilia and flagella are essential for the reproduction and survival of many biological organisms. Despite extensive studies, the exact mechanism by which individual components coordinate their activity to produce ciliary beating patterns remains unknown. We describe a novel approach toward studying ciliary beating. Instead of deconstructing a fully functional organelle from the top-down, we describe a process by which synthetic cilia-like structures are assembled from the bottom-up and we present methods for engineering such structures. We demonstrate how simple mixtures of microtubules, kinesin clusters, and a bundling agent assemble into structures that produce spontaneous oscillations, suggesting that self-organized beating may be a generic feature of internally driven bundles. Synthetic cilia-like structures can be assembled at high density, leading to synchronization and metachronal traveling waves, reminiscent of the waves seen in biological ciliary fields.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk