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Open Access Research

Microtubule asters as templates for nanomaterials assembly

Vivek Verma12, Jeffrey M Catchmark3*, Nicole R Brown4 and William O Hancock5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

2 Present Address: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur, India

3 Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

4 School of Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

5 Bioengineering Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

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Journal of Biological Engineering 2012, 6:23  doi:10.1186/1754-1611-6-23

Published: 27 December 2012

Abstract

Self organization of the kinesin-microtubule system was implemented as a novel template to create percolated nanofiber networks. Asters of microtubule seeds were immobilized on glass surfaces and their growth was recorded over time. The individual aster islands became interconnected as microtubules grew and overlapped, resulting in a highly percolated network. Cellulose nanowhiskers were used to demonstrate the application of this system to nanomaterials organization. The size distribution of the cellulose nanowhiskers was comparable to that of microtubules. To link cellulose nanowhiskers to microtubules, the nanowhiskers were functionalized by biotin using cellulose binding domains. Fluorescence studies confirmed biotinylation of cellulose nanowhiskers and binding of cellulose nanowhiskers to biotinylated microtubules.