Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility

© 2003 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 2003 Mechanical Interactions with Cytoskeleton

Active nanorobots maneuvering inside living cells could disturb or disrupt any of the many functions of the cytoskeleton, including (1) mechanical support (e.g., cell movement, adhesive interaction with ECM and neighboring cells, and stabilization of cell shape including cellular “tensegrity” [5333]), (2) integration of various cellular activities (e.g., intracellular movement including transport and positioning to the appropriate locations of organelles, intracellular particles, RNA and proteins), and (3) intracellular signal transduction (including structural information regarding cellular origin and differentiation state) [4598]. In diverse cell types, microtubule and actin filament networks cooperate functionally during many processes, such as vesicle and organelle transport, cleavage furrow placement, directed cell migration, spindle rotation, and nuclear migration [4308]. Nanorobots could mechanically disrupt any or all of these functions during intracellular locomotion and manipulation of cell structures, if cytoskeletal/membrane links are disturbed [4309].

The two most significant risks appear to be direct mechanical cytoskeletal reorganizations (Section and the possible disruption of vesicular transport and related molecular motor diseases (Section In both cases, it appears likely that potential problems can be avoided by conservative design.


Last updated on 30 April 2004