Cytoplasmic Streaming and the Swirling Instability of the Microtubule Cytoskeleton

Wed, Feb 17, 2021, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Cytoplasmic streaming is the persistent circulation of the fluid contents of large eukaryotic cells, driven by the action of molecular motors moving along cytoskeletal filaments, entraining fluid. Discovered in 1774 by Bonaventura Corti, it is now recognized as a common phenomenon in a very broad range of model organisms, from plants to flies and worms. This talk will discuss physical approaches to understanding this phenomenon through a combination of experiments (on aquatic plants, Drosophila, and other active matter systems), theory, and computation. A particular focus will be on streaming in the Drosophila oocyte, for which I will describe a recently discovered "swirling instability" of the microtubule cytoskeleton.

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