Microtubules (MTs), one of the major components of eukaryotic cytoskeleton, are hollow 25 nm diameter proteinnanotubes involved in numerous cellular functions including intracellular trafficking, cell division, and cell shaping.
In biological systems, MTs are subjected to shear stress caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI), blood flow, and cytoplasmic streaming. While MTs are reported to be involved in the generation of cytoplasmic flow and the morphological changes of the endothelial cells in response to blood flow, the exact structural behaviors of MTs under shear stress still remain to be elucidated. In this study, the shear-induced alignment, breakage, polymerization, and buckling of MTs are identified by using rotational rheometer and synchrotron small angle X-ray scattering(SAXS). The findings may provide insight into the structural mechanisms of MTs in biological systems, and can be applied for nanostructure engineering.