Modeling elastic properties of microtubule tips and walls

Imre M. Jánosi, Denis Chrétien, Henrik Flyvbjerg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Citations (Scopus)


Electron micrographs of tips of growing and shrinking microtubules are analyzed and interpreted. The many shapes observed are all consistent with a simple mechanical model, a flexible tube with competing intrinsic curvatures. Observations are also consistent with growing and shrinking microtubules having the same intrinsic curvature for protofilaments, the one observed in oligomers peeling off shrinking microtubules. If this is so, the lateral bonds between protofilaments are responsible for the difference between shapes of tips on growing and shrinking microtubules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-513
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Biophysics Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 17 1998


  • Competing curvatures
  • Elasticity
  • Microtubule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

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