Physics - How Cells Regulate the Length of Filaments

Models show how the length of filaments in cells can be tightly controlled by balancing continual growth with shrinkage caused by molecular motors.

Many important events in a cell, such as dividing in two, are choreographed by filaments that can maintain a fairly steady length despite molecules that continually add to and subtract from their length. In Physical Review Letters, two German groups independently model this precise length regulation, which involves molecular motors that move along the filaments and shorten them when they get too long.