Isomorphic coalescence of aster cores formed in vitro from microtubules and kinesin motors

K. Kim, A. Sikora, H. Nakazawa, M. Umetsu, W. Hwang, W. Teizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We report fluorescence microscopy studies of the formation of aster-like structures emerging from a cellular element-based active system and a novel analysis of the aster condensation. The system consists of rhodamine labeled microtubules which are dynamically coupled by functionalized kinesin motor proteins cross-linked via streptavidin-coated quantum dots (QDs). The aster-shaped objects contain core structures. The cores are aggregates of the QD-motor protein complexes, and result from the dynamic condensation of sub-clusters that are connected to each other randomly. The structural specificity of the aster core reflects a configuration of the initial connectivity between sub-clusters. Detailed image analysis allows us to extract a novel correlation between the condensation speed and the sub-cluster separation. The size of the core is scaled down during the condensation process, following a power law dependence on the distance between sub-clusters. The exponent of the power law is close to two, as expected from a geometric model. This single exponent common to all the contractile lines implies that there exists a time regime during which an isomorphic contraction of the aster core continues during the condensation process. We analyze the observed contraction by using a model system with potential applicability in a wide range of emergent phenomena in randomly coupled active networks, which are prevalent in the cellular environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056002
JournalPhysical Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 21


  • aster
  • emergence
  • kinesin
  • microtubule


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