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J Phys Chem B. 2006 Jul 13;110(27):13572-81.

The "Le Chatelier's principle"-governed response of actin filaments to osmotic stress.

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The Research Center for Low Temperatures and Materials Sciences/Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan.


Actin filaments inhibit osmotic stress-driven water flow across a semipermeable membrane in proportion to the filament concentration (Ito, T.; Zaner, K. S.; Stossel, T. P. Biophys. J. 1987, 51, 745). When the filaments are cross-linked by F-actin binding protein, filamin A, this flow is stopped completely (Ito, T.; Suzuki, A.; Stossel, T. P. Biophys. J. 1992, 61, 1301). No conventional theory accurately accounts for these results. Here, this response is analyzed by formulating the entropy of the system under osmotic stress. Results demonstrate that the response of the actin filaments to osmotic stress is governed by the Le Chatelier's principle, which states that an external interaction that disturbs the equilibrium brings about processes in the body that tend to reduce the effects of this interaction. In the present case, disrupting equilibrium by osmotic stress brings about a reaction that decreases the chemical potential of water in the F-actin solution, reducing the effect of the applied osmotic disturbance. This decrease in the chemical potential of the water in the F-actin solution is caused by an increase in the chemical potential of F-actin, which is induced by isothermal absorption of heat by F-actin aided by work done by osmotic stress. As a result, F-actin has an inhibitory effect on the osmotic stress-driven water flow, and can even completely stop the flow when it is cross-linked. This is the first report demonstrating that the Le Chatelier's principle applies to the reaction of biopolymers against equilibrium disturbances such as osmotic stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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