Building on-chip cytoskeletal circuits via branched microtubule networks

Meisam Zaferani, Ryungeun Song, Sabine Petry, Howard A. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Controllable platforms to engineer robust cytoskeletal scaffolds have the potential to create novel on-chip nanotechnologies. Inspired by axons, we combined the branching microtubule (MT) nucleation pathway with microfabrication to develop "cytoskeletal circuits."This active matter platform allows control over the adaptive self-organization of uniformly polarized MT arrays via geometric features of microstructures designed within a microfluidic confinement. We build and characterize basic elements, including turns and divisions, as well as complex regulatory elements, such as biased division and MT diodes, to construct various MT architectures on a chip. Our platform could be used in diverse applications, ranging from efficient on-chip molecular transport to mechanical nano-actuators. Further, cytoskeletal circuits can serve as a tool to study how the physical environment contributes to MT architecture in living cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2315992121
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • branching nucleation
  • circuits
  • microtubules


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