Helical alignment inversion of microtubules in accordance with a structural change in their lattice†
Giant helical (oriented chiral nematic) alignments of microtubules of nanometer to centimeter lengths are known to form over a temperature gradient during anisotropic spiral propagation via tubulin dimer addition in a capillary cell. Such helical alignments may be modified by the addition of either paclitaxel or dimethyl sulfoxide, which induces a lattice (helical) structural change in the microtubule itself. In this study, we found that the lattice structural change of microtubules brings about inversion of microtubule alignments in the helical ordering. Based on microscopy and scattering data, a mechanism for the helical ordering of microtubules is discussed in relation to their lattice (helical) structure.