Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Phys. 2010 Jun 1;6(6):468-473.

Optimal matrix rigidity for stress fiber polarization in stem cells.

Author information

1
Institute of Dental Sciences, Faculty of Dental Medicine, and the Fritz Haber Center for Molecular Dynamics, the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, 91120, Israel.

Abstract

The shape and differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells is especially sensitive to the rigidity of their environment; the physical mechanisms involved are unknown. A theoretical model and experiments demonstrate here that the polarization/alignment of stress-fibers within stem cells is a non-monotonic function of matrix rigidity. We treat the cell as an active elastic inclusion in a surrounding matrix whose polarizability, unlike dead matter, depends on the feedback of cellular forces that develop in response to matrix stresses. The theory correctly predicts the monotonic increase of the cellular forces with the matrix rigidity and the alignment of stress-fibers parallel to the long axis of cells. We show that the anisotropy of this alignment depends non-monotonically on matrix rigidity and demonstrate it experimentally by quantifying the orientational distribution of stress-fibers in stem cells. These findings offer a first physical insight for the dependence of stem cell differentiation on tissue elasticity.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center