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An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Non-Equilibrium Dynamics of Interacting Particle Systems

Membrane nanotubes pulled cooperatively by molecular motors

Author: P Bassereau (Institut Curie, Paris)


Long and very dynamic tubular structures growing along the cytoskeleton have been observed in vivo. Similar tubular nano-structures have been obtained in vitro with a minimal system composed of kinesins grafted on the membranes of giant vesicles, and moving along immobilized microtubule. When the kinesins are individually grafted to single lipids, dynamical clusters of motors pulling the tubes have been observed at the tip of the tubes, in agreement with theory. Different dynamical regimes have been observed : below a threshold depending on membrane tension and motor concentration, no tube is formed but above this threshold, we observe either stable tubes or oscillating tubes depending on the relative vesicle size and tube length