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Microtubules are cylindrical protein polymers that play important roles in a number of cellular functions. The properties of microtubules are dynamically changed by interacting with many microtubule-related proteins and drugs. In this study, we used atomic force microscopy to evaluate the changes in microtubule mechanical properties induced by treatment with nocodazole, which is a microtubule-destabilizing drug. The average spring constant of the microtubules, which was used as a measure of microtubule lateral stiffness, was drastically decreased by treatment with nocodazole within 30 min from 0.052 +/- 0.014 N/m to 0.029 +/- 0.015 N/m. Our findings will aid in the understanding of microtubule dynamics, protein interactions in response to drug treatment, microtubule-related diseases, and drug development.


Sung-Woong Han, Patriche Simona, Mihaela Banu, Taiji Adachi. Real-time monitoring of changes in microtubule mechanical properties in response to microtubule-destabilizing drug treatment. Journal of nanoscience and nanotechnology. 2013 Mar;13(3):2087-90

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PMID: 23755650

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