|Title||Simulation of electric fields generated from microtubule vibrations|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2019|
|Authors||Thackston K.A, Deheyn DD, Sievenpiper D.F|
|Type of Article||Article|
Microtubules are tubular proteins that form part of the cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells. Because of their unique mechanical properties, many studies have theorized microtubules could show high-frequency mechanical vibrations. Others have further suggested these vibrations of the electrically polar microtubules could be a source of electric fields inside the cell that could serve some biological function, such as a role in organizing mitosis or also possibly in cell-to-cell communication. In this work, we use a transient method to simulate the electric fields that would be generated from a single microtubule supposing they could sustain vibrations. We evaluate the biological significance of the electric fields and the potential energy microtubules might exert on one another. Our simulation method allows us to evaluate vibrational modes that have not previously been studied. The simulations suggest the acoustic branch flexing mode would actually be the most electrically active. Our results suggest a single vibrating microtubule could potentially exert significant forces (those that exceed thermal energy) on biological dipoles or charges at distances larger then the Debye length, on the order of 10 nm from the surface of the microtubule, but interaction is not likely at greater distances.