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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Jan 21;94(2):028102. Epub 2005 Jan 18.

Johnson-Kendall-Roberts theory applied to living cells.

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UMR 144, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Johnson-Kendall-Roberts (JKR) theory is an accurate model for strong adhesion energies of soft slightly deformable material. Little is known about the validity of this theory on complex systems such as living cells. We have addressed this problem using a depletion controlled cell adhesion and measured the force necessary to separate the cells with a micropipette technique. We show that the cytoskeleton can provide the cells with a 3D structure that is sufficiently elastic and has a sufficiently low deformability for JKR theory to be valid. When the cytoskeleton is disrupted, JKR theory is no longer applicable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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