Microtubule architecture: Inspiration for novel carbon nanotube-based biomimetic materials

Author :Pampaloni, F. and E.-L. Florin
Publication :Trends in Biotechnology
Volume :26
Number :(6)
Pages :302-310
Year :2008

Microtubules are self-assembling biological nanotubes
that are essential for cell motility, cell division and intracellular
trafficking. Microtubules have outstanding
mechanical properties, combining high resilience and
stiffness. Such a combination allows microtubules to
accomplish multiple cellular functions and makes them
interesting for material sciences. We review recent
experiments that elucidate the relationship between
molecular architecture and mechanics in microtubules
and examine analogies and differences between microtubules
and carbon nanotubes, which are their closest
equivalent in nanotechnology. We suggest that a longterm
goal in bionanotechnology should be mimicking
the properties of microtubules and microtubule bundles
to produce new functional nanomaterials.