Explore the effects of the amino acid chain poly-L-lysine on microtubules
Design a micro-mesh of microtubules by utilizing the unique effects of poly-L-lysine
The polymerization of tubulin dimers results in the formation of long, hollow, and rigid structures known as microtubules. Current techniques involving microtubules and cargo transport situate the microtubules on a horizontal plane, parallel to a glass surface. We sought to create novel structures of microtubules in synthetic biology. We designed a 3D mesh of microtubules by coating the glass surfaces in a flow cell with the polymer poly-L-lysine. This caused the microtubules to orient themselves orthogonally to the glass surface and to form web-like structures spanning the height of the flow cell. We observed attachment due to electrostatic interactions between the rhodamine-labeled microtubules and the poly-L-lysine coated surfaces almost immediately in the flow cell. The poly-L-lysine in solution is conjectured to have acted as a bridging mechanism between the microtubules that created the observed structures. This new mesh has potential to add to the biosensing field in physical filtration devices.