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Biophys J. 2003 Feb;84(2 Pt 1):1328-36.

A prestressed cable network model of the adherent cell cytoskeleton.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


A prestressed cable network is used to model the deformability of the adherent cell actin cytoskeleton. The overall and microstructural model geometries and cable mechanical properties were assigned values based on observations from living cells and mechanical measurements on isolated actin filaments, respectively. The models were deformed to mimic cell poking (CP), magnetic twisting cytometry (MTC) and magnetic bead microrheometry (MBM) measurements on living adherent cells. The models qualitatively and quantitatively captured the fibroblast cell response to the deformation imposed by CP while exhibiting only some qualitative features of the cell response to MTC and MBM. The model for CP revealed that the tensed peripheral actin filaments provide the key resistance to indentation. The actin filament tension that provides mechanical integrity to the network was estimated at approximately 158 pN, and the nonlinear mechanical response during CP originates from filament kinematics. The MTC and MBM simulations revealed that the model is incomplete, however, these simulations show cable tension as a key determinant of the model response.

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