## Institut für Physik und Astronomie

Cargo transport by molecular motors is ubiquitous in all eukaryotic cells and is typically driven cooperatively by several molecular motors, which may belong to one or several motor species like kinesin, dynein or myosin. These motor proteins transport cargos such as RNAs, protein complexes or organelles along filaments, from which they unbind after a finite run length. Understanding how these motors interact and how their movements are coordinated and regulated is a central and challenging problem in studies of intracellular transport. In this thesis, we describe a general theoretical framework for the analysis of such transport processes, which enables us to explain the behavior of intracellular cargos based on the transport properties of individual motors and their interactions. Motivated by recent in vitro experiments, we address two different modes of transport: unidirectional transport by two identical motors and cooperative transport by actively walking and passively diffusing motors. The case of cargo transport by two identical motors involves an elastic coupling between the motors that can reduce the motors’ velocity and/or the binding time to the filament. We show that this elastic coupling leads, in general, to four distinct transport regimes. In addition to a weak coupling regime, kinesin and dynein motors are found to exhibit a strong coupling and an enhanced unbinding regime, whereas myosin motors are predicted to attain a reduced velocity regime. All of these regimes, which we derive both by analytical calculations and by general time scale arguments, can be explored experimentally by varying the elastic coupling strength. In addition, using the time scale arguments, we explain why previous studies came to different conclusions about the effect and relevance of motor-motor interference. In this way, our theory provides a general and unifying framework for understanding the dynamical behavior of two elastically coupled molecular motors. The second mode of transport studied in this thesis is cargo transport by actively pulling and passively diffusing motors. Although these passive motors do not participate in active transport, they strongly enhance the overall cargo run length. When an active motor unbinds, the cargo is still tethered to the filament by the passive motors, giving the unbound motor the chance to rebind and continue its active walk. We develop a stochastic description for such cooperative behavior and explicitly derive the enhanced run length for a cargo transported by one actively pulling and one passively diffusing motor. We generalize our description to the case of several pulling and diffusing motors and find an exponential increase of the run length with the number of involved motors.

In the living cell, the organization of the complex internal structure relies to a large extent on molecular motors. Molecular motors are proteins that are able to convert chemical energy from the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into mechanical work. Being about 10 to 100 nanometers in size, the molecules act on a length scale, for which thermal collisions have a considerable impact onto their motion. In this way, they constitute paradigmatic examples of thermodynamic machines out of equilibrium. This study develops a theoretical description for the energy conversion by the molecular motor myosin V, using many different aspects of theoretical physics. Myosin V has been studied extensively in both bulk and single molecule experiments. Its stepping velocity has been characterized as a function of external control parameters such as nucleotide concentration and applied forces. In addition, numerous kinetic rates involved in the enzymatic reaction of the molecule have been determined. For forces that exceed the stall force of the motor, myosin V exhibits a 'ratcheting' behaviour: For loads in the direction of forward stepping, the velocity depends on the concentration of ATP, while for backward loads there is no such influence. Based on the chemical states of the motor, we construct a general network theory that incorporates experimental observations about the stepping behaviour of myosin V. The motor's motion is captured through the network description supplemented by a Markov process to describe the motor dynamics. This approach has the advantage of directly addressing the chemical kinetics of the molecule, and treating the mechanical and chemical processes on equal grounds. We utilize constraints arising from nonequilibrium thermodynamics to determine motor parameters and demonstrate that the motor behaviour is governed by several chemomechanical motor cycles. In addition, we investigate the functional dependence of stepping rates on force by deducing the motor's response to external loads via an appropriate Fokker-Planck equation. For substall forces, the dominant pathway of the motor network is profoundly different from the one for superstall forces, which leads to a stepping behaviour that is in agreement with the experimental observations. The extension of our analysis to Markov processes with absorbing boundaries allows for the calculation of the motor's dwell time distributions. These reveal aspects of the coordination of the motor's heads and contain direct information about the backsteps of the motor. Our theory provides a unified description for the myosin V motor as studied in single motor experiments.

We study buckling instabilities of filaments in biological systems. Filaments in a cell are the building blocks of the cytoskeleton. They are responsible for the mechanical stability of cells and play an important role in intracellular transport by molecular motors, which transport cargo such as organelles along cytoskeletal filaments. Filaments of the cytoskeleton are semiflexible polymers, i.e., their bending energy is comparable to the thermal energy such that they can be viewed as elastic rods on the nanometer scale, which exhibit pronounced thermal fluctuations. Like macroscopic elastic rods, filaments can undergo a mechanical buckling instability under a compressive load. In the first part of the thesis, we study how this buckling instability is affected by the pronounced thermal fluctuations of the filaments. In cells, compressive loads on filaments can be generated by molecular motors. This happens, for example, during cell division in the mitotic spindle. In the second part of the thesis, we investigate how the stochastic nature of such motor-generated forces influences the buckling behavior of filaments. In chapter 2 we review briefly the buckling instability problem of rods on the macroscopic scale and introduce an analytical model for buckling of filaments or elastic rods in two spatial dimensions in the presence of thermal fluctuations. We present an analytical treatment of the buckling instability in the presence of thermal fluctuations based on a renormalization-like procedure in terms of the non-linear sigma model where we integrate out short-wavelength fluctuations in order to obtain an effective theory for the mode of the longest wavelength governing the buckling instability. We calculate the resulting shift of the critical force by fluctuation effects and find that, in two spatial dimensions, thermal fluctuations increase this force. Furthermore, in the buckled state, thermal fluctuations lead to an increase in the mean projected length of the filament in the force direction. As a function of the contour length, the mean projected length exhibits a cusp at the buckling instability, which becomes rounded by thermal fluctuations. Our main result is the observation that a buckled filament is stretched by thermal fluctuations, i.e., its mean projected length in the direction of the applied force increases by thermal fluctuations. Our analytical results are confirmed by Monte Carlo simulations for buckling of semiflexible filaments in two spatial dimensions. We also perform Monte Carlo simulations in higher spatial dimensions and show that the increase in projected length by thermal fluctuations is less pronounced than in two dimensions and strongly depends on the choice of the boundary conditions. In the second part of this work, we present a model for buckling of semiflexible filaments under the action of molecular motors. We investigate a system in which a group of motors moves along a clamped filament carrying a second filament as a cargo. The cargo-filament is pushed against the wall and eventually buckles. The force-generating motors can stochastically unbind and rebind to the filament during the buckling process. We formulate a stochastic model of this system and calculate the mean first passage time for the unbinding of all linking motors which corresponds to the transition back to the unbuckled state of the cargo filament in a mean-field model. Our results show that for sufficiently short microtubules the movement of kinesin-I-motors is affected by the load force generated by the cargo filament. Our predictions could be tested in future experiments.

In biological cells, the long-range intracellular traffic is powered by molecular motors which transport various cargos along microtubule filaments. The microtubules possess an intrinsic direction, having a 'plus' and a 'minus' end. Some molecular motors such as cytoplasmic dynein walk to the minus end, while others such as conventional kinesin walk to the plus end. Cells typically have an isopolar microtubule network. This is most pronounced in neuronal axons or fungal hyphae. In these long and thin tubular protrusions, the microtubules are arranged parallel to the tube axis with the minus ends pointing to the cell body and the plus ends pointing to the tip. In such a tubular compartment, transport by only one motor type leads to 'motor traffic jams'. Kinesin-driven cargos accumulate at the tip, while dynein-driven cargos accumulate near the cell body. We identify the relevant length scales and characterize the jamming behaviour in these tube geometries by using both Monte Carlo simulations and analytical calculations. A possible solution to this jamming problem is to transport cargos with a team of plus and a team of minus motors simultaneously, so that they can travel bidirectionally, as observed in cells. The presumably simplest mechanism for such bidirectional transport is provided by a 'tug-of-war' between the two motor teams which is governed by mechanical motor interactions only. We develop a stochastic tug-of-war model and study it with numerical and analytical calculations. We find a surprisingly complex cooperative motility behaviour. We compare our results to the available experimental data, which we reproduce qualitatively and quantitatively.

Movements of processive cytoskeletal motors are characterized by an interplay between directed motion along filament and diffusion in the surrounding solution. In the present work, these peculiar movements are studied by modeling them as random walks on a lattice. An additional subject of our studies is the effect of motor-motor interactions on these movements. In detail, four transport phenomena are studied: (i) Random walks of single motors in compartments of various geometries, (ii) stationary concentration profiles which build up as a result of these movements in closed compartments, (iii) boundary-induced phase transitions in open tube-like compartments coupled to reservoirs of motors, and (iv) the influence of cooperative effects in motor-filament binding on the movements. All these phenomena are experimentally accessible and possible experimental realizations are discussed.