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Electric field-induced reversible trapping of microtubules along metallic glass microwire electrodes
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Microtubules are among bio-polymers providing vital functions in dynamic cellular processes. Artificial organization of these bio-polymers is a requirement for transferring their native functions into device applications. Using electrophoresis, we achieve an accumulation of microtubules along a metallic glass (Pd42.5Cu30Ni7.5P20) microwire in solution. According to an estimate based on migration velocities of microtubules approaching the wire, the electrophoretic mobility of microtubules is around 10−12 m2/Vs. This value is four orders of magnitude smaller than the typical mobility reported previously. Fluorescence microscopy at the individual-microtubule level shows microtubules aligning along the wire axis during the electric field-induced migration. Casein-treated electrodes are effective to reversibly release trapped microtubules upon removal of the external field. An additional result is the condensation of secondary filamentous structures from oriented microtubules.
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