Chapter 19 Mechanical Response of Cytoskeletal Networks

Margaret L. Gardel, Karen E. Kasza, Clifford P. Brangwynne, Jiayu Liu, David A. Weitz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

114 Scopus citations

Abstract

The cellular cytoskeleton is a dynamic network of filamentous proteins, consisting of filamentous actin (F-actin), microtubules, and intermediate filaments. However, these networks are not simple linear, elastic solids; they can exhibit highly nonlinear elasticity and athermal dynamics driven by ATP-dependent processes. To build quantitative mechanical models describing complex cellular behaviors, it is necessary to understand the underlying physical principles that regulate force transmission and dynamics within these networks. In this chapter, we review our current understanding of the physics of networks of cytoskeletal proteins formed in vitro. We introduce rheology, the technique used to measure mechanical response. We discusos our current understanding of the mechanical response of F-actin networks, and how the biophysical properties of F-actin and actin cross-linking proteins can dramatically impact the network mechanical response. We discuss how incorporating dynamic and rigid microtubules into F-actin networks can affect the contours of growing microtubules and composite network rigidity. Finally, we discuss the mechanical behaviors of intermediate filaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiophysical Tools for Biologists, Volume Two
Subtitle of host publicationIn Vivo Techniques
EditorsJohn Correia, William Detrich III
Pages487-519
Number of pages33
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Cell Biology
Volume89
ISSN (Print)0091-679X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology

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    Gardel, M. L., Kasza, K. E., Brangwynne, C. P., Liu, J., & Weitz, D. A. (2008). Chapter 19 Mechanical Response of Cytoskeletal Networks. In J. Correia, & W. Detrich III (Eds.), Biophysical Tools for Biologists, Volume Two: In Vivo Techniques (pp. 487-519). (Methods in Cell Biology; Vol. 89). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0091-679X(08)00619-5