Nonequilibrium microtubule fluctuations in a model cytoskeleton

Clifford P. Brangwynne, Gijsje H. Koenderink, Frederick C. MacKintosh, David A. Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Biological activity gives rise to nonequilibrium fluctuations in the cytoplasm of cells; however, there are few methods to directly measure these fluctuations. Using a reconstituted actin cytoskeleton, we show that the bending dynamics of embedded microtubules can be used to probe local stress fluctuations. We add myosin motors that drive the network out of equilibrium, resulting in an increased amplitude and modified time dependence of microtubule bending fluctuations. We show that this behavior results from steplike forces on the order of 10 pN driven by collective motor dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118104
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 21 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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