Deformation and collapse of microtubules on the nanometer scale.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We probe the local mechanical properties of microtubules at the nanometer scale by radial indentation with a scanning force microscope tip. We find a linear elastic regime that can be described by both thin-shell theory and finite element methods, in which microtubules are modeled as hollow tubes. We also find a nonlinear regime and catastrophic collapse of the microtubules under large loads. The main physics of protein shells at the nanometer scale shows simultaneously aspects of continuum elasticity in their linear response, as well as molecular graininess in their nonlinear behavior.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • de Pablo, PJ; Schaap, IA; MacKintosh, FC; Schmidt, CF

Published Date

  • August 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 91 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 098101 -

PubMed ID

  • 14525215

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1079-7114

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0031-9007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1103/physrevlett.91.098101


  • eng