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FILAMENT ORDERING AND CLUSTERING BY MOLECULAR MOTORS IN MOTILITY ASSAYS

    We study the cooperative behavior of cytoskeletal filaments in motility assays, in which immobilized motor proteins bind the filaments to a surface and actively pull them along this surface. Because of the repulsive interaction of filaments, the motor-driven dynamics of filaments leads to a nonequilibrium phase transition which generalizes the isotropicnematic phase transition of the corresponding equilibrium system, the hard-rod fluid. Langevin dynamics simulations and analytical theory show that the motor activity enhances the tendency for nematic ordering. At high detachment forces of motors, we observe the formation of filament clusters because of blocking effects; at low detachment forces, cluster formation can be controlled by the density of inactive motors.

    Paper presented at the conference on "Bio-Systems," Berlin, June 26–29, 2006.

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