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James Keener : Flexing your Protein muscles: How to Pull with a Burning Rope

The segregation of chromosomes during cell division is accomplished by kinetochore machinery that uses depolymerizing microtubules to pull the chromosomes to opposite poles of the dividing cell. While much is known about molecular motors that pull by walking or push by polymerizing, the mechanism of how a pulling force can be achieved by depolymerization is still unresolved. In this talk, I will describe a new model for the depolymerization motor that is used by eukaryotic cells to segregate chromosomes during mitosis. In the process we will explore the use of Huxley-type models (population models) of protein binding and unbinding to study load-velocity curves of several different motor-like proteins.

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