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Block Copolymer Templates for F actin Organization

Symmetric P(S-b-MMA)
Short range spatial order achieved (70nm spacing).

Geometric variation (5nm) is created with 5 min UV exposure.

Liquid Imaging of F actin
In-situ AFM of extracellular F actin bundles and individual fibers.

F actin height is 7nm.

Double-helical architecture is resolved with pitch of 35-40nm.

PIs: R. J. Composto & Y. Goldman: NBIC Molecular Motors Subgroup


Use spatial and geometric signals to create an array of F actin which acts as tracts for molecular motors.


  1. Self-assemble block copolymers with short range periodicity commensurate with F actin size.
  2. Develop AFM procedure to image fragile F actin.
  3. Organize F actin on block copolymer templates.

Block Copolymer Systems:

  1. oly(methyl-b-methacrylate)
  2. poly(styrene-b-acrylic acid)

Alignment methods:

  1. Thermal annealing
  2. Solvent annealing
  3. Grooved substrates


Organization of intracellular F actin in BAECs after 1 h.

F actin aligns along ridges of substrate (3mm x 3mm)


  • Intracellular F actin can be aligned by topography.
  • Short range block copolymer (bcp) organization has been achieved
  • Extracellular F actin has been imaged on substrates.
  • Using the long range order of bcp’s to self-assemble extracellular F actin will lead to unprecedented control over molecular motors that convert chemical energy into mechanical energy.


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