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A theoretical description of elastic pillar substrates in biophysical experiments

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Roos,  Wouter
Cellular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Spatz,  Joachim P.
Cellular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Biophysical Chemistry, Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany;

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Citation

Mohrdieck, C., Wanner, A., Roos, W., Roth, A., Sackmann, E., Spatz, J. P., et al. (2005). A theoretical description of elastic pillar substrates in biophysical experiments. ChemPhysChem, 6(8), 1492-1498. doi:10.1002/cphc.200500109.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-266A-9
Abstract
Arrays of elastic pillars are used in biophysical experiments as sensors for traction forces. The evaluation of the forces can be complicated if they are coupled to the pillar displacements over large distances. This is the case if many of the pillars are interconnected by elastic linkages as, for example, in fiber networks that are grown on top of pillars. To calculate the traction forces in such a network, we developed a set of nonlinear inhomogeneous equations relating the forces in the linking elements to the resulting pillar deflections. We chose a homogeneous, activated two-dimensional network of cytoskeletal actin filaments to illustrate that a pillar substrate is generally not a force sensor but a force-gradient sensor. In homogeneous networks the forces acting along the filaments can be approximated by analyzing only pillar deflections in the edge zones of the substrate and by integration over the corresponding force gradients.