The building blocks of the cell cytoskeleton are thin tubes, like microtubule filaments, which can be formed together into three-dimensional skeletons. Each microtube is 1000 times thinner than a human hair and only about 10 microns in length and about 1000 times smaller than a normal black ant.
Together with motor proteins that drive the movement of these tiny structures, they together move relatively large cells such as ants, pushing and pushing cars.
In previous studies, researchers took these molecules out of cells and placed them in tubes where tubes and motor proteins gathered spontaneously to organize into star structures called daisies.
The extent to which daisies in the tube are related to the movement of cells that feed the cytoskeleton is unclear. In addition, the collective organization of microtubules, which is shown by the formation of daisies, involves the power of interacting which is not fully understood.
A Caltech research team examines how to manipulate fibers and motor proteins outside the cell’s natural environment. In the tubes, they bind to motor proteins with light-activated proteins, which occur naturally in plants, so the tubes are arranged into daisies only when light shines on them.
In this way, researchers can control when and where asters will form by designing various models of light to develop theories of physical mechanisms that underlie the formation of daisies.
The daisy control not only allows them to learn their formation, but also allows the team to build something from the structure. Ross developed a simple procedure for lightweight models to place movements and combine daisies of various sizes.
This technique offers the ability to manipulate structures and study fluid dynamics with a high level of enthusiasm which is usually difficult to handle with complex behavior liquids at such a small volume.
In general, it is very difficult to manipulate liquids and structures at this scale. But that’s the most interesting scale for us to study cells and chemistry.
All molecular biology works at this scale. Our light based system allows us to dynamically manipulate our system. We can look through a microscope and say OK that we have enough here, we begin to focus things there and change the pattern of light according to that. We can use an aster structure to stir and mix solutions on a very small scale.
Further Reading: Caltech edu