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Lab Chip. 2010 Jan 7;10(1):86-91. doi: 10.1039/b913312g. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

A nano-needle/microtubule composite gliding on a kinesin-coated surface for target molecule transport.

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Center for International Research on MicroMechatronics, Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8505, Japan.


An alternative method of micro/nano-transport has been achieved by using motor proteins. Microtubules on a kinesin-coated surface have potential to act as a nano-transport system. When microtubules are used as carriers, either cargo or cargo linkers are attached on the microtubule surface. Such cargo attachments can significantly affect kinesin motion. To deal with the difficulty caused by molecular attachment to the microtubule surface, the cargo loading and transport mechanism should be separated. In this work, we propose to use micromachined needles as cargo carriers which then can be transported on microtubules. Because of the separation of needle functionalization and transport mechanism, functionalization of the needles can proceed without any effect on the microtubule structure, significantly increasing the possible types of cargo. We have fabricated silicon needles in mass numbers using a simple and effective method and have shown that the microtubule-needle composites are transported without affecting the kinesin activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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