Control of non-linear elasticity in F-actin networks with microtubules

Y.C. Lin, G.H. Koenderink, F.C. MacKintosh, D.A. Weitz

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We measure the elastic properties of composite cytoskeletal networks consisting of cross-linked actin filaments and microtubules. We show that even a small concentration of microtubules leads to dramatic and qualitative changes in the non-linear elastic properties of the actin filament networks. Specifically, we find that microtubules promote non-linear stiffening of F-actin networks because they are much stiffer than actin filaments and therefore suppress non-uniform strain. This finding may be relevant for interpretation of the mechanical behavior of cells, while also suggesting a new way to reinforce the non-linear elasticity of semiflexible polymer materials. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-906
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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