Deforming biological membranes: How the cytoskeleton affects a polymerizing fiber

D. R. Daniels, J. C. Wang, R. W. Briehl, M. S. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We give a theoretical treatment of the force exerted by a fluctuating membrane on a polymer rod tip, taking into account the effects of an underlying biological cytoskeleton by way of a simple harmonic dependence on displacement. We also consider theoretically and experimentally the dynamics of a growing fiber tip under the influence of such a fluctuation-induced membrane force, including the effects of an underlying cytoskeletal network. We compare our model with new experimental data for the growth of hemoglobin fibers within red blood cells, revealing a good agreement. We are also able to estimate the force and membrane/cytoskeletal displacement required to stall growth of, or buckle, a growing fiber. We discuss the significance of our results in a biological context, including how the properties of the membrane and cytoskeleton relate to the thermodynamics of rod polymerization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024903
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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