Theory of self-assembly of microtubules and motors

Igor S. Aranson, Lev S. Tsimring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We derive a model describing spatiotemporal organization of an array of microtubules interacting via molecular motors. Starting from a stochastic model of inelastic polar rods with a generic anisotropic interaction kernel, we obtain a set of equations for the local rods concentration and orientation. At large enough mean density of rods and concentration of motors, the model describes an orientational instability. We demonstrate that the orientational instability leads to the formation of vortices and (for large density and/or kernel anisotropy) asters seen in recent experiments. We derive the specific form of the interaction kernel from the detailed analysis of microscopic interaction of two filaments mediated by a moving molecular motor and extend our results to include variable motor density and motor attachment to the substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031915
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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