Stochastic dynamics of microtubules: A model for caps and catastrophes

Henrik Flyvbjerg, Timothy E. Holy, Stanislas Leibler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


We introduce and solve a phenomenological model for the so-called catastrophes, the abrupt transitions from the growing to the shrinking state of microtubules. The model may explain existing experimental results and resolve some long-standing apparent contradictions. In particular, the model reproduces observed catastrophe rates and waiting times for catastrophes upon sudden dilution. It may also explain why recent experiments fail to measure the GTP content in growing microtubules and provides a mechanism for so-called coupled hydrolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2372-2375
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1994


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