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We propose an alternative mechanism for intracellular cargo transport which results from motor-induced longitudinal fluctuations of cytoskeletal microtubules (MTs). The longitudinal fluctuations combined with transient cargo binding to the MTs lead to long-range transport even for cargos and vesicles having no molecular motors on them. The proposed transport mechanism, which we call “hitchhiking”, provides a possible explanation for the broadly observed yet still mysterious phenomenon of bidirectional transport along MTs. We show that cells exploiting the hitchhiking mechanism can effectively up- and down-regulate the transport of different vesicles by tuning their binding kinetics to characteristic MT oscillation frequencies.
Kulić, I. M., & Nelson, P. C. (2007). Hitchhiking Through the Cytoplasm. Europhysics Letters, 81 (1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/81/18001
Date Posted: 15 March 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.