We have determined the mechanical anisotropy of a single microtubule by simultaneously measuring the Young’s and the shear moduli in vitro. This was achieved by elastically deforming the microtubule deposited on a substrate tailored by electron-beam lithography with a tip of an atomic force microscope. The shear modulus is 2 orders of magnitude lower than the Young’s, giving rise to a length-dependent flexural rigidity of microtubules. The temperature dependence of the microtubule’s bending stiffness in the range shows a strong variation upon cooling coming from the increasing interaction between the protofilaments.
- Received 16 August 2002
- Published 21 November 2002
© 2002 The American Physical Society