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We examined liquid crystalline phases of the cytoskeletal polyelectrolyte filamentous (F-)actin in the presence of multivalent counterions. As a function of increasing ion concentration, the F-actin rods in either an isotropic or a nematic phase will transform into a new and unexpected lamellar phase of crosslinked rafts (LXR phase), before condensing into a bundled phase of parallel, close-packed rods. This behavior is generic for alkali earth divalent ions Mg2+, Ca2+, Sr2+, and Ba2+, and the structural transitions are achieved without any architecture-specific actin-binding linker proteins.
Date Posted: 13 August 2007
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