Influence of GHz electric fields on the mechanical properties of a microtubule
Setayandeh SS, Lohrasebi A. Influence of GHz electric fields on the mechanical properties of a microtubule. J Mol Model. 2015 Apr;21(4):2637. Epub 2015 Mar 13.
To explore the properties of the MT, two different systems each consisting of a pair of dimers were exposed to an 0.03 V/nm electric field with a frequency ranging between 1 to 10 GHz.
It was found that the Young's modulus of each system, which is related to the flexibility of the MT, was lower at some frequencies and higher at others in comparison with normal biological conditions.
Hence, the application of such an electric field with a frequency in this range may affect MT function, which could have positive or negative effects on cell health. Positive effects include its potential use in cancer treatment, where the application of such a field could lead to a decrease in MT rigidity, similar to the effect of Taxol on MTs. Negative effects include unwanted changes to the mechanical properties of MTs (e.g., disturbing the cell division process and in turn increasing the risk of cancer) upon the application of such a field.
Microtubules (MTs) are intracellular filaments which are vital to many cellular functions; for instance, they provide tracks for biological motors, enabling organelle motility, and they form the mitotic spindle during the M phase of eukaryotic cell division . ...
In this work, the effects of GHz electric fields on the mechanical properties of the dimers in a microtubule were investigated using a molecular dynamics simulation method. For this purpose, two systems (N and S) each consisting of a pair of dimers were designed. It was observed that applying electric fields of frequency 2, 5, or 7 GHz caused the protein to become more rigid than in the absence of an electric field, whereas a frequency of 1 or 6 GHz caused the protein to become more flexible than in the absence of an electric field. Therefore, applying a 5-GHz electric field to an MT may increase its rigidity, which can in turn affect the cell division rate. On the other hand, exposing an MT to a 1-GHz or 6-GHz electric field may decrease the rigidity of the MT similarly to the effect of Taxol in chemotherapy, which may imply that applying such an electric field is a possible alternative to administering Taxol—which has notable adverse side effects—in cancer treatment.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
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