Steering microtubule shuttle transport with dynamically controlled magnetic fields
Nanoscale control of matter is critical to the design of integrated nanosystems. Here, we describe a method to dynamically control directionality of microtubule (MT) motion using programmable magnetic fields. MTs are combined with magnetic quantum dots (i.e., MagDots) that are manipulated by external magnetic fields provided by magnetic nanowires. MT shuttles thus undergo both ATP-driven and externally-directed motion with a fluorescence component that permits simultaneous visualization of shuttle motion. This technology is used to alter the trajectory of MTs in motion and to pin MT motion. Such an approach could be used to evaluate the MT–kinesin transport system and could serve as the basis for improved lab-on-a-chip technologies based on MT transport.