Micro- and macrorheological properties of actin networks effectively cross-linked by depletion forces

R. Tharmann, M. M.A.E. Claessens, A. R. Bausch

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung

61 Zitate (Scopus)


The structure and rheology of cytoskeletal networks are regulated by actin binding proteins. Aside from these specific interactions, depletion forces can also alter the properties of cytoskeletal networks. Here we demonstrate that the addition of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) as a depletion agent results not only in severe structural changes, but also in alterations in mechanical properties of actin solutions. In the plateau of the elastic modulus two regimes can be distinguished by micro and macrorheological methods. In the first, the elastic modulus increases only slightly with increasing depletion agent, whereas above a critical concentration c*, a strong increase of cPEG6k3.5 is observed in a distinct second regime. Microrheological data and electron microscopy images show a homogenous network of actin filaments in the first regime, whereas at higher PEG concentrations a network of actin bundles is observed. The concentration dependence of the plateau modulus G0, the shift in entanglement time τe, and the nonlinear response indicate that below c* the network becomes effectively cross-linked, whereas above c* G0(cPEG6k) is primarily determined by the network of bundles that exhibits a linearly increasing bundle thickness.

Seiten (von - bis)2622-2627
FachzeitschriftBiophysical Journal
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Apr. 2006


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