Active Processes in Biology driven by Molecular Motors
“Ideas have consequences” and we use physical descriptions and computational methods to explore the consequences of our ideas about biological systems. These systems display a large variety of active processes driven by molecular motors that transduce chemical energy into mechanical work. Although we have a fairly good understanding of how molecular motors operate on a single-molecule level, it is often difficult to relate a precise physical description of these proteins to large-scale behavior. We recently introduced a quantitative framework to analyze experimental data of molecular motors in optical traps. This method allows us to systematically relate the observable quantities to molecular behavior and it provides new insight into the force production of human dynein. Furthermore, we explore the consequences of different ideas about force-producing molecular motors in the cellular context during centrosome repositioning in T cells. Here, we used large-scale simulations to show that a simple idea is consistent with experimental findings.
Division of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Biophysics, Utrecht University, The Netherlands