Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 459–463 | Cite as

Control and gating of kinesin-microtubule motility on electrically heated thermo-chips

  • Laurence Ramsey
  • Viktor Schroeder
  • Harm van Zalinge
  • Michael Berndt
  • Till Korten
  • Stefan Diez
  • Dan V. NicolauEmail author


First lab-on-chip devices based on active transport by biomolecular motors have been demonstrated for basic detection and sorting applications. However, to fully employ the advantages of such hybrid nanotechnology, versatile spatial and temporal control mechanisms are required. Using a thermo-responsive polymer, we demonstrated a temperature controlled gate that either allows or disallows the passing of microtubules through a topographically defined channel. The gate is addressed by a narrow gold wire, which acts as a local heating element. It is shown that the electrical current flowing through a narrow gold channel can control the local temperature and as a result the conformation of the polymer. This is the first demonstration of a spatially addressable gate for microtubule motility which is a key element of nanodevices based on biomolecular motors.


Nanodevices Molecular motors Thermo-responsive polymer Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Microtubules Kinesin 



The authors would like to acknowledge funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme ([FP7/2007-2011]) under grant agreement number 228971 (MONAD) as well as the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Cluster of Excellence Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden.

Supplementary material

10544_2014_9848_MOESM1_ESM.avi (6.3 mb)
ESM 1 (AVI 6425 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence Ramsey
    • 1
  • Viktor Schroeder
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Harm van Zalinge
    • 1
  • Michael Berndt
    • 3
    • 5
  • Till Korten
    • 2
    • 3
  • Stefan Diez
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dan V. Nicolau
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Electrical Engineering and ElectronicsUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.B CUBE - Center for Molecular BioengineeringTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and GeneticsDresdenGermany
  4. 4.Institute for X-Ray Physics and Courant Research Centre “Nano-Spectroscopy and X-Ray Imaging”Georg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Lumics GMBHBerlinGermany
  6. 6.Department of Bioengineering, School of EngineeringMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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