Traffic by Small Teams of Molecular Motors
Molecular motors transport various cargos along cytoskeletal filaments, analogous to trucks on roads. In contrast to vehicles, however, molecular motors do not work alone but in small teams. We describe a simple model for the transport of a cargo by one team of motors and by two teams of motors, which walk into opposite directions. The cooperation of one team of motors generates long-range transport, which we observed experimentally in vitro. Transport by two teams of motors leads to a variety of bidirectional motility behaviour and to dynamic instabilities reminiscent of spontaneous symmetry breaking. We also discuss how cargo transport by teams of motors allows the cell to generate robust long-range bidirectional transport.
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