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Motor processivity and speed determine structure and dynamics of microtubule-motor assemblies

Banks, Rachel A. and Galstyan, Vahe and Lee, Heun Jin and Hirokawa, Soichi and Ierokomos, Athena and Ross, Tyler D. and Bryant, Zev and Thomson, Matt and Phillips, Rob (2021) Motor processivity and speed determine structure and dynamics of microtubule-motor assemblies. . (Unpublished)

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Active matter systems can generate highly ordered structures, avoiding equilibrium through the consumption of energy by individual constituents. How the microscopic parameters that characterize the active agents are translated to the observed mesoscopic properties of the assembly has remained an open question. These active systems are prevalent in living matter; for example, in cells, the cytoskeleton is organized into structures such as the mitotic spindle through the coordinated activity of many motor proteins walking along microtubules. Here, we investigate how the microscopic motor-microtubule interactions affect the coherent structures formed in a reconstituted motor-microtubule system. This question is of deeper evolutionary significance as we suspect motor and microtubule type contribute to the shape and size of resulting structures. We explore key parameters experimentally and theoretically, using a variety of motors with different speeds, processivities, and directionalities. We demonstrate that aster size depends on the motor used to create the aster, and develop a model for the distribution of motors and microtubules in steady-state asters that depends on parameters related to motor speed and processivity. Further, we show that network contraction rates scale linearly with the single-motor speed in quasi one-dimensional contraction experiments. In all, this theoretical and experimental work helps elucidate how microscopic motor properties are translated to the much larger scale of collective motor-microtubule assemblies.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Banks, Rachel A.0000-0003-2028-2925
Galstyan, Vahe0000-0001-7073-9175
Ross, Tyler D.0000-0002-7872-3992
Bryant, Zev0000-0001-6751-3693
Phillips, Rob0000-0003-3082-2809
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 International license. Version 1 - October 23, 2021; Version 2 - April 10, 2022. We are grateful to Dan Needleman, Madhav Mani, Peter Foster, and Ana Duarte for fruitful discussions. We acknowledge support from the NIH through grant 1R35 GM118043-01; the John Templeton Foundation as part of the Boundaries of Life Initiative through grants 51250 and 60973; the Foundational Questions Institute and Fetzer Franklin Fund through FQXi 1816. Data Sharing Plans: All code will be stored on our Github Repository and additional data will be housed on the Caltech Data Repository. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIH1R35 GM118043-01
John Templeton Foundation51250
John Templeton Foundation60973
Foundational Questions Institute (FQXI)FQXi 1816
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211102-171349069
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Motor processivity and speed determine structure and dynamics of microtubule-motor assemblies. Rachel A. Banks, Vahe Galstyan, Heun Jin Lee, Soichi Hirokawa, Athena Ierokomos, Tyler D Ross, Zev Bryant, Matt Thomson, Robert Phillips. bioRxiv 2021.10.22.465381; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111703
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Nov 2021 21:53
Last Modified:11 Apr 2022 19:20

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