Effect of adhesion geometry and rigidity on cellular force distributions
Authors: Bischofs IB, Schmidt SS, Schwarz US
CellNetworks People: Schwarz Ulrich
Journal: Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Jul 24;103(4):048101

The behavior and fate of tissue cells are controlled by the rigidity and geometry of their adhesive environment, possibly through forces localized to sites of adhesion. We introduce a mechanical model that predicts cellular force distributions for cells adhering to adhesive patterns with different geometries and rigidities. For continuous adhesion along a closed contour, forces are predicted to be localized to the corners. For discrete sites of adhesion, the model predicts the forces to be mainly determined by the lateral pull of the cell contour. With increasing distance between two neighboring sites of adhesion, the adhesion force increases because the cell shape results in steeper pulling directions. Softer substrates result in smaller forces. Our predictions agree well with experimental force patterns measured on pillar assays.