39 Scopus citations


The mechanisms by which cytoskeletal flows and cell-substrate interactions interact to generate cell motion are explored by using a simplified model of the cytoskeleton as a viscous gel containing active stresses. This model yields explicit general results relating cell speed and traction forces to the distributions of active stress and cell-substrate friction. It is found that (i) the cell velocity is given by a function that quantifies the asymmetry of the activestress distribution, (ii) gradients in cell-substrate friction can induce motion even when the active stresses are symmetrically distributed, (iii) the tractionforce dipole is enhanced by protrusive stresses near the cell edges or contractile stresses near the center of the cell and (iv) the cell velocity depends biphasically on the cell-substrate adhesion strength if active stress is enhanced by adhesion. Specific experimental tests of the calculated dependences are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number073009
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Jul 2011


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