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Cellular structures are shaped by hydrogen and ionic bonds, plus van der Waals and hydrophobic forces. In cells crowded with macromolecules, a little-known and distinct force-the "depletion attraction"-also acts. We review evidence that this force assists in the assembly of a wide range of cellular structures, ranging from the cytoskeleton to chromatin loops and whole chromosomes.

Original publication

DOI

10.1083/jcb.200609066

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Cell Biol

Publication Date

04/12/2006

Volume

175

Pages

681 - 686

Keywords

Actins, Amyloid, Anemia, Sickle Cell, Animals, Cell Nucleus, Cellular Structures, Chromatin, Chromosomes, Cytoskeleton, Genome, Humans, Hydrogen Bonding, Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions, Models, Genetic, Organelles, Protein Conformation