Microtubule guiding in a multi-walled carbon nanotube circuit
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In nanotechnological devices, mass transport can be initiated by pressure driven flow, diffusion or by employing molecular motors. As the scale decreases, molecular motors can be helpful as they are not limited by increased viscous resistance. Moreover, molecular motors can move against diffusion gradients and are naturally fitted for nanoscale transportation. Among motor proteins, kinesin has particular potential for lab-on-a-chip applications. It can be used for sorting, concentrating or as a mechanical sensor. When bound to a surface, kinesin motors propel microtubules in random directions, depending on their landing orientation. In order to circumvent this complication, the microtubule motion should be confined or guided. To this end, dielectrophoretically aligned multi-walled-carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) can be employed as nanotracks. In order to control more precisely the spatial repartition of the MWCNTs, a screening method has been implemented and tested. Polygonal patterns have been fabricated with the aim of studying the guiding and the microtubule displacement between MWCNT segments. Microtubules are observed to transfer between MWCNT segments, a prerequisite for the guiding of microtubules in MWCNT circuit-based biodevices. The effect of the MWCNT organization (crenellated or hexagonal) on the MT travel distance has been investigated as well.
KeywordsCarbon Nanotube Microtubule Kinesin Dielectrophoresis
We gratefully acknowledge support from the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), MEXT, Japan. We would like to thank Dr Wonmuk Hwang for his helpful communication and the students in the group of Prof. Kumagai, especially Mr. Aruto Sugiyama, Mr. Takuma Sujino and Ms. Rui Todokoro.
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