Pattern formation and force generation by cell ensembles in a filamentous matrix
Authors: Paul R, Schwarz U
CellNetworks People: Schwarz Ulrich
Journal: Proceedings of the IUTAM Symposium on Cellular, Molecular and Tissue Mechanics, IUTAM Bookseries, Vol. 16.

Adhesion-dependent soft tissue cells both create and sense tension in the extracellular matrix. Therefore cells can actively interact
through the mechanics of the surrounding matrix. An intracellular
positive feedback loop upregulates cellular contractility in stiff or
tensed environments. Here we theoretically address the resulting
pattern formation and force generation for the case of a filamentous
matrix, which we model as a two-dimensional cable network. Cells are modeled as anisotropic contraction dipoles which move in favor of tensed directions in the matrix. Our Monte Carlo simulations suggest that at small densities, cells align in strings, while at high
densities, they form interconnected meshworks. Cellular activation
both by biochemical factors and by tension leads to a hyperbolic
increase in tissue tension. We also discuss the effect of cell density
on tissue tension and shape.