Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 12, 2009
Previous Article Next Article

Phases of membrane tubules pulled by molecular motors

Author affiliations


Networks of cylindrical membrane tubules appear in many intra-cellular organelles, such as Golgi, ER and mitochondria, and have also been recreated artificially in vitro. These tubules are pulled by molecular motors along filaments of the cytoskeleton, including both actin and microtubules. We propose here a model that is an extension of the thermodynamic equilibrium treatment of such membrane tubules. We treat the active, motors-induced motion of the tubule free ends through the use of an “effective temperature” describing this motion. This mean-field treatment allows us to calculate the effects of such active motion on the phase diagram of the tubules, demonstrating the control that the cell can exert on the morphology of intracellular membrane networks. We compare these results to recent observations of the ER network in cells.

Graphical abstract: Phases of membrane tubules pulled by molecular motors

Back to tab navigation

Additions and corrections

Publication details

The article was received on 02 Oct 2008, accepted on 01 Apr 2009 and first published on 18 May 2009

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B817341A
Soft Matter, 2009,5, 2431-2437

  •   Request permissions

    Phases of membrane tubules pulled by molecular motors

    N. S. Gov, Soft Matter, 2009, 5, 2431
    DOI: 10.1039/B817341A

Search articles by author