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

Article information

02 Oct 2008
01 Apr 2009
First published
18 May 2009

Soft Matter, 2009,5, 2431-2437
Article type

Phases of membrane tubules pulled by molecular motors

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

Social activity

Search articles by author