Processivity and collectivity of biomolecular motors extracting membrane nanotubes

F. Fontenele Araujo Junior, C. Storm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

139 Downloads (Pure)


Biomolecular motors can pull and viscously drag membranes. The resulting elongations include cell protrusions, tether networks, and sensorial tentacles. Here we focus on the extraction of a single tube from a vesicle. Via a force balance coupled to binding kinetics, we analytically determine the phase diagram of tube formation as function of the motor processivity, the surface viscosity of the membrane ¿m', and the density of motors on the vesicle ¿. Three tubulation mechanisms are identified: (i) tip pulling, due to the accumulation of motors at the leading edge of the membrane, (ii) viscous drag, emergent from the translation of motors along the tube, and (iii) hybrid extraction, such that tip pulling and viscous drag are equally important. For experimental values of ¿m' and ¿, we find that the growth of bionanotubes tends to be driven by viscous forces, whereas artificial membranes are dominated by tip pulling.
Original languageEnglish
Article number010901
Pages (from-to)1-4
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Processivity and collectivity of biomolecular motors extracting membrane nanotubes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this