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Effect of weightlessness on colloidal particle transport and segregation in self-organising microtubule preparations.

Abstract : Weightlessness is known to effect cellular functions by as yet undetermined processes. Many experiments indicate a role of the cytoskeleton and microtubules. Under appropriate conditions in vitro microtubule preparations behave as a complex system that self-organises by a combination of reaction and diffusion. This process also results in the collective transport and organisation of any colloidal particles present. In large centimetre-sized samples, self-organisation does not occur when samples are exposed to a brief early period of weightlessness. Here, we report both space-flight and ground-based (clinorotation) experiments on the effect of weightlessness on the transport and segregation of colloidal particles and chromosomes. In centimetre-sized containers, both methods show that a brief initial period of weightlessness strongly inhibits particle transport. In miniature cell-sized containers under normal gravity conditions, the particle transport that self-organisation causes results in their accumulation into segregated regions of high and low particle density. The gravity dependence of this behaviour is strongly shape dependent. In square wells, neither self-organisation nor particle transport and segregation occur under conditions of weightlessness. On the contrary, in rectangular canals, both phenomena are largely unaffected by weightlessness. These observations suggest, depending on factors such as cell and embryo shape, that major biological functions associated with microtubule driven particle transport and organisation might be strongly perturbed by weightlessness.
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Contributor : Alain Duperray <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 5:43:55 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 3:40:58 AM

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James Tabony, Nathalie Rigotti, Nicolas Glade, Sandra Cortès. Effect of weightlessness on colloidal particle transport and segregation in self-organising microtubule preparations.. Biophysical Chemistry, Elsevier, 2007, 127 (3), pp.172-80. ⟨10.1016/j.bpc.2007.01.010⟩. ⟨inserm-00324968⟩



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