Oct 17, 2018

High stretchability, strength and toughness of living cells enabled by hyperelastic vimentin network

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jiliang HuMing Guo


In many normal and abnormal physiological processes, including cellular migration during normal development and invasion in cancer metastasis, cells are required to withstand severe deformations. The structural integrity of eukaryotic cells under small deformations has been known to depend on the cytoskeleton including actin filaments (F-actin), microtubules and intermediate filaments (IFs). However, it remains unclear how cells resist severe deformations since both F-actin and microtubules fluidize or disassemble under moderate strains. Here, we demonstrate that vimentin intermediate filaments (VIFs), a marker of mesenchymal cells, dominate cytoplasmic mechanics at large deformations. Our results show that cytoskeletal VIFs form a stretchable, hyperelastic network. This network works synergistically with other dissipative cytoplasmic components, substantially enhancing the strength, stretchability, resilience and toughness of the living cytoplasm.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Markers
Stimulators, Caloric, Physical Therapy, Fluidized Medium
Biological Neural Networks
VIM gene
Filamentous Actin Location

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