Apr 11, 2014

The emergence of extracellular matrix mechanics and cell traction forces as important regulators of cellular self-organization

Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Sara ChecaGeorg N Duda

Abstract

Physical cues play a fundamental role in a wide range of biological processes, such as embryogenesis, wound healing, tumour invasion and connective tissue morphogenesis. Although it is well known that during these processes, cells continuously interact with the local extracellular matrix (ECM) through cell traction forces, the role of these mechanical interactions on large scale cellular and matrix organization remains largely unknown. In this study, we use a simple theoretical model to investigate cellular and matrix organization as a result of mechanical feedback signals between cells and the surrounding ECM. The model includes bi-directional coupling through cellular traction forces to deform the ECM and through matrix deformation to trigger cellular migration. In addition, we incorporate the mechanical contribution of matrix fibres and their reorganization by the cells. We show that a group of contractile cells will self-polarize at a large scale, even in homogeneous environments. In addition, our simulations mimic the experimentally observed alignment of cells in the direction of maximum stiffness and the building up of tension as a consequence of cell and fibre reorganization. Moreover, we demonstrate that cellular organi...Continue Reading

  • References61
  • Citations13

Mentioned in this Paper

In Silico
Stress, Mechanical
Theoretical Model
Cell Motility
Extracellular Matrix
Tissue Regeneration
Muscular Stiffness
Neoplasms
Mechanotransduction, Cellular
Tumor Lysis Syndrome

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