Publication details for Bernard PiettePiette, B.M.A.G., Liu, J., Peeters, K., Smertenko, A., Hawkins, T., Deeks, M., Quinlan, R., Zakrzewski, W.J. & Hussey, P.J. (2009). A Thermodynamic Model of Microtubule Assembly and Disassembly. PLoS ONE 4(8): e6378.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
- DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006378
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
- Bernard Piette
- Professor Emeritus Wojtek Zakrzewski
- Kasper Peeters
- Prof PJ Hussey
- Dr Tim Hawkins
- Dr Junli Liu
Microtubules are self-assembling polymers whose dynamics are essential for the normal function of cellular processes including chromosome separation and cytokinesis. Therefore understanding what factors effect microtubule growth is fundamental to our understanding of the control of microtubule based processes. An important factor that determines the status of a microtubule, whether it is growing or shrinking, is the length of the GTP tubulin microtubule cap. Here, we derive a Monte Carlo model of the assembly and disassembly of microtubules. We use thermodynamic laws to reduce the number of parameters of our model and, in particular, we take into account the contribution of water to the entropy of the system. We fit all parameters of the model from published experimental data using the GTP tubulin dimer attachment rate and the lateral and longitudinal binding energies of GTP and GDP tubulin dimers at both ends. Also we calculate and incorporate the GTP hydrolysis rate. We have applied our model and can mimic published experimental data, which formerly suggested a single layer GTP tubulin dimer microtubule cap, to show that these data demonstrate that the GTP cap can fluctuate and can be several microns long.