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Phys Biol. 2009 Oct 20;6(4):046010. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/6/4/046010.

The cellular response to curvature-induced stress.

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Department of Materials and interfaces, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


We present a theoretical model to explain recent observations of the orientational response of cells to unidirectional curvature. Experiments show that some cell types when plated on a rigid cylindrical surface tend to reorient their shape and stress fibers along the axis of the cylinder, while others align their stress fibers perpendicular to that axis. Our model focuses on the competition of the shear stress--that results from cell adhesion and active contractility--and the anisotropic bending stiffness of the stress fibers. We predict the cell orientation angle that results from the balance of these two forces in a mechanical equilibrium. The conditions under which the different experimental observations can be obtained are discussed in terms of the theory.

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