The fluctuating position of an optically trapped cilium tip under untreated and Taxol-treated conditions was used to characterize mechanical properties of the cilium axoneme and its basal body by combining experimental, analytical,and computational tools. We provide, for the first time, evidence that the persistence length of a ciliary axoneme is length-dependent; longer cilia are stiffer than shorter cilia. We demonstrate that this apparent length dependence can be understood by a combination of modeling axonemal microtubules as anisotropic elastic shells and including actomyosin-driven stochastic basal body motion.Our results also demonstrate the possibility of using observable ciliary dynamics to probe interior cytoskeletal dynamics. It is hoped that our improved characterization of cilia will result in deeper understanding of the biological function of cellular flow sensing by this organelle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modeling and Simulation
- Mechanical Engineering
- Elastic shell
- Primary cilia