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Journal Article

Activity-dependent self-regulation of viscous length scales in biological systems


Nandi,  Saroj Kumar
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Nandi, S. K. (2018). Activity-dependent self-regulation of viscous length scales in biological systems. Physical Review E, 97(5): 052404. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.97.052404.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-ABAC-D
The cellular cortex, which is a highly viscous thin cytoplasmic layer just below the cell membrane, controls the cell's mechanical properties, which can be characterized by a hydrodynamic length scale l. Cells actively regulate l via the activity of force-generating molecules, such as myosin II. Here we develop a general theory for such systems through a coarse-grained hydrodynamic approach including activity in the static description of the system providing an experimentally accessible parameter and elucidate the detailed mechanism of how a living system can actively self-regulate its hydrodynamic length scale, controlling the rigidity of the system. Remarkably, we find that l, as a function of activity, behaves universally and roughly inversely proportional to the activity of the system. Our theory rationalizes a number of experimental findings on diverse systems, and comparison of our theory with existing experimental data shows good agreement.