Self-organization of polymer-motor systems in the cytoskeleton

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1992 Apr 29;336(1276):99-106. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1992.0049.


Microtubules and actin filaments are organized into dynamic arrays inside cells. In this paper I discuss in conceptual form the assembly mechanisms of three specific arrays: asters, spindles and leading edge structures. The role of energy transducing processes, particularly motor protein activity, in assembly is explored. I conclude that dynamic interaction between motor proteins and cytoskeletal polymers play a very general role in spatial organization of the cytoplasm.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Polymers / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Spindle Apparatus / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Polymers
  • Proteins