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Posted by PLOS_CompBiol on 19 Jan 2009 at 06:45 GMT

We suggest for the first time that the action of multivalent cations on
microtubule dynamics can result from facilitated diffusion of GTP-tubulin to the
microtubule ends.

http://ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000255#article1.front1.article-meta1.abstract1.p1

In this work, "facilitated diffusion" is introduced as a novel view on microtubule assembly. Facilitated diffusion states that polycations (like natural polyamines) generate an attraction force between tubulin molecules and microtubules. The attracted tubulin molecules can eventually diffuse to microtubule ends and thus increase the rate of microtubule elongation. Together the results modify our vision of microtubule assembly and provide a novel target to manipulate microtubule dynamics for pharmacologic purposes.

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http://www.ploscompbiol.org/attachments/pcbi.1000255.facilitatedDiffusion.tif