Hierarchical self-assembly of actin in micro-confinements using microfluidics

Biomicrofluidics. 2012 Sep 13;6(3):34120. doi: 10.1063/1.4752245. eCollection 2012.


We present a straightforward microfluidics system to achieve step-by-step reaction sequences in a diffusion-controlled manner in quasi two-dimensional micro-confinements. We demonstrate the hierarchical self-organization of actin (actin monomers-entangled networks of filaments-networks of bundles) in a reversible fashion by tuning the [Formula: see text] ion concentration in the system. We show that actin can form networks of bundles in the presence of [Formula: see text] without any cross-linking proteins. The properties of these networks are influenced by the confinement geometry. In square microchambers we predominantly find rectangular networks, whereas triangular meshes are predominantly found in circular chambers.