The European Physical Journal E

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 439–449 | Cite as

Characterization of single semiflexible filaments under geometric constraints

  • S. Köster
  • J. Kierfeld
  • T. PfohlEmail author
Open Access
Regular Article


Confinement effects on single semiflexible macromolecules are of central importance for a fundamental understanding of cellular processes involving biomacromolecules. To analyze the influence of confinement on the fluctuations of semiflexible macromolecules we study individual actin filaments in straight and curved microchannels. We experimentally characterize the segment distributions for fluctuating semiflexible filaments in microchannels as a function of the channel width. Moreover, the effect of channel curvature on the filament fluctuations is investigated. We find quantitative agreement between experimental results, Monte Carlo simulations, and the analytical description. This allows for determination of the persistence length of actin filaments, the deflection length, which characterizes the confinement effects, and the scaling exponents for the segment distribution of semiflexible macromolecules.


87.16.Ka Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies 87.16.Ac Theory and modeling; computer simulation 82.37.Rs Single molecule manipulation of proteins and other biological molecules 


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© The Author(s) 2008

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-OrganizationGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute of Colloids and InterfacesPotsdamGermany

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