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Highly-Efficient Guiding of Motile Microtubules on Non-Topographical Motor Patterns

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posted on 18.08.2017, 00:00 by Cordula Reuther, Matthäus Mittasch, Sundar R. Naganathan, Stephan W. Grill, Stefan Diez
Molecular motors, highly efficient biological nanomachines, hold the potential to be employed for a wide range of nanotechnological applications. Toward this end, kinesin, dynein, or myosin motor proteins are commonly surface-immobilized within engineered environments in order to transport cargo attached to cytoskeletal filaments. Being able to flexibly control the direction of filament motion, and in particular on planar, non-topographical surfaces, has, however, remained challenging. Here, we demonstrate the applicability of a UV-laser-based ablation technique to programmably generate highly localized patterns of functional kinesin-1 motors with different shapes and sizes on PLL-g-PEG-coated polystyrene surfaces. Straight and curved motor tracks with widths of less than 500 nm could be generated in a highly reproducible manner and proved to reliably guide gliding microtubules. Though dependent on track curvature, the characteristic travel lengths of the microtubules on the tracks significantly exceeded earlier predictions. Moreover, we experimentally verified the performance of complex kinesin-1 patterns, recently designed by evolutionary algorithms for controlling the global directionality of microtubule motion on large-area substrates.