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Physical theories of cell mechanics

Presented by: 
Samuel Safran
Tuesday 14th July 2015 - 10:30 to 11:30
INI Seminar Room 1
Co-authors: Ohad Cohen (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel), Kinjal Dasbiswas (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel), Xinpeng Xu (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)      
Cell contractility at either the coarse-grained level of an entire cell or at the sub-cellular level of individual acto-myosin fibers, can be understood using the concept of elastic force dipoles. These dipoles interact via their mutual deformations of the surrounding visco-elastic medium which can be either the extra-cellular matrix (in the case of cells modeled as force dipoles)  or the internal, cellular cytoskeleton (in the case of acto-myosin fibers within the cell). The theory of these elastically mediated interactions combined with the unique "living" nature of cells (implying that the activity of these dipoles is non-equilibrium and energy consuming) allows us to understand the organization and order of acto-myosin fibers within the cytoskeleton of a single cell or among contractile cells in systems of non-motile and adherent cells. We present the general theory of elastic interactions in the context of acto-myosin activity with examples that demonstrate its utility in understanding experiments on cytoskeletal alignment in stem cells that differentiate  into muscle cells, the structure and beating of cardiomyocytes, very long-ranged cell-cell interactions in fibrous elastic matrices, and elastically controlled diffusion of biomolecules that trigger development in embryos.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons