Energy Generation and Intracellular Communication due to Thermal Fluctuation Induced Piezoelectric Effect in Cytoskeletal Microtubules: A Theoretical Approach

Cytoskeletal microtubules have long been conjectured to have piezoelectric properties. They have
been shown to behave as nematic liquid crystals which oscillate along their director axis due to the
prevalent thermal fluctuations. In this work, we develop a theoretical model of the mechanics of
microtubules in the cytosolic space based on the buckling of its structure due to these thermal
fluctuations. This cytosolic space has been considered as a viscoelastic medium in which microtubule
oscillations have been considered. As a result of resilience of cytosol and neighbouring filaments from
the axial force due to thermal fluctuations, the surface traction acting laterally on the microtubule
structure has been further used to elucidate its piezoelectric behaviour in vivo. After the piezoelectric
properties induced by thermal fluctuations (in addition to the buckling) of microtubules have been
discussed, we propose a model discussing how microtubules behave as energy harvesters and
communicate via electromagnetic radiation, with each other, in an intracellular environment.

Author(s) Details

Dr. Arindam Kushagra
Amity Institute of Nanotechnology, Amity University Kolkata, Kolkata-700135, India.

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