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Insight into the mechanism of MT shrinkage.

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posted on 18.02.2015, 03:46 by Ishutesh Jain, Mandar M. Inamdar, Ranjith Padinhateeri

The interplay of bending interactions, lateral interactions and thermal fluctuations give rise to a complex free energy landscape (dotted black curve; also see Fig. 2) in which GDP-protofilaments fluctuate between several partially peeled-off states. These partially peeled-off states would manifest as ram’s horn-like structures. Subunits from MT can dissociate from the protofilaments while they fluctuate in these states. This is a description that can combine both the mechanisms of shrinkage, unzippering and depolymerization, with timescales that are consistent with experiments.