Statistical and Biological Physics

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Microtubule Length Regulation by Molecular Motors

Anna Melbinger*, Louis Reese* and Erwin Frey

Length regulation of microtubules (MTs) is essential for many cellular processes. Molecular motors like kinesin-8, which move along MTs and also act as depolymerases, are known as key players in MT dynamics. However, the regulatory mechanisms of length control remain elusive.  Here, we investigate a stochastic model accounting for the interplay between polymerization kinetics and motor-induced depolymerization. We  determine the dependence of MT length and variance on rate constants and motor concentration. Moreover, our analyses reveal how collective phenomena lead to a well-defined MT length.