Simulation studies of self-organization of microtubules and molecular motors

Zhiyuan Jia, Dmitry Karpeev, Igor Aronson, Peter W. Bates

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We perform Monte Carlo type simulation studies of self-organization of microtubules interacting with molecular motors. We model microtubules as stiff polar rods of equal length exhibiting anisotropic diffusion in the plane. The molecular motors are implicitly introduced by specifying certain probabilistic collision rules resulting in realignment of the rods. This approximation of the complicated microtubule-motor interaction by a simple instant collision allows us to bypass the "computational bottlenecks" associated with the details of the diffusion and the dynamics of motors and the reorientation of microtubules. Consequently, we are able to perform simulations of large ensembles of microtubules and motors on a very large time scale. This simple model reproduces all important phenomenology observed in in vitro experiments: Formation of vortices for low motor density and raylike asters and bundles for higher motor density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051905
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 8 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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