Light-Patterned Microtubule Asters, Nuclear Actin, And EB3-Islands
Controlling Organization And Forces In Active Matter Through Optically Defined Boundaries
Ross et al. | Nature Cytoskeletal networks are dynamic, reconfigurable systems exquisitely tuned by the cell to perform a variety of functions. Reconstituting the diverse organization patterns of actin and microtubule networks in vitro has been a long-standing research objective, both to gain insights into the self-organization of cytoskeletal systems as well as to engineer active-matter devices. Here, the Thomson lab uses light-dimerizable kinesin motors to reversibly bundle microtubules with high spatiotemporal control. The authors manipulate light patterns to form, move, and merge microtubule asters at will. This dynamic remodeling of microtubule structures generates fluid flow reminiscent of cytoplasmic streaming, which the authors further control in a final demonstration imparting a rotating light pattern to create an “active stir bar.”
Significance – The ability to form light-defined compartments of active biomolecules offers a path toward engineering programmable soft matter materials inspired by nature.
MTrack: Automated Detection, Tracking, and Analysis of Dynamic Microtubules
Researchers develop a plug-in for the open-source platform Fiji that automatically identifies and tracks dynamic microtubules with sub-pixel resolution.
Kapoor et al. | Scientific Reports
Reviews and Perspectives
Cytoskeletal Proteins In The Cell Nucleus: A Special Nuclear Actin Perspective
Actin is becoming increasingly recognized for its role in genome organization and may be important for sustained gene expression or silencing.
Percipalle and Vartiainen | Molecular Biology of the Cell
• Estrem and Moore on astral microtubules and DNA repair
• Nickaeen et al. on actin driven endocytosis in yeast
• Wang and O’Shaughnessy on tension in the cytokinetic ring
• Kondo and Kimura on cytokinesis with tripolar spindles
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