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Mark Alber : Modeling elastic properties of cells and fibrin networks

Viscoelastic interactions of Myxococcus xanthus cells in a low-density domain close to the edge of a swarm have been recently studied in [1] using a combination of a cell-based three-dimensional Subcellular Element (SCE) model [1,2] and cell-tracking experiments. The model takes into account the flexible nature of M. xanthus as well as the effects of adhesion between cells arising from the interaction of the capsular polysaccharide covering two cells in contact with each other. New image and dynamic cell curvature analysis algorithms were used to track and measure the change in cell shapes that occur as flexible cells undergo significant bending during collisions resulting in direct calibration of the model parameters. It will be shown in this talk that flexibility of cells and the adhesive cell–cell and cell–substrate interactions of M. xanthus together with cell to aspect-ratio and directional reversals [3], play an important role in smooth cell gliding and more efficient swarming. In the second part of the talk results of the analysis of the three dimensional structures of fibrin networks, with and without cells, reconstructed from two-dimensional z-stacks of confocal microscopy sections using novel image analysis algorithms, will be presented. These images were used to establish microstructure-based models for studying the relationship between the structural features and the mechanical properties of the fibrin networks in blood clots. The change in the fibrin network alignment under applied strain and the elastic modulus values will be shown to agree well with the experimental data [4]. 1. C.W. Harvey, F. Morcos, C.R. Sweet, D. Kaiser, S. Chatterjee, X. Lu, D. Chen and M. Alber [2011], Study of elastic collisions of M. xanthus in swarms, Physical Biology 8, 026016. 2. C.R. Sweet, S. Chatterjee, Z. Xu, K. Bisordi, E.D. Rosen and M. Alber [2011], Modeling Platelet-Blood Flow Interaction Using Subcellular Element Langevin Method, J R Soc Interface, 2011 May 18. [Epub ahead of print], doi: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0180. 3. Y. Wu, Y. Jiang, D. Kaiser and M. Alber [2009], Periodic reversal of direction allows Myxobacteria to swarm, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106 4 1222-1227. 4. E. Kim, O.V. Kim, K.R. Machlus, X. Liu, T. Kupaev, J. Lioi, A.S. Wolberg, D.Z. Chen, E.D. Rosen, Z. Xu and M. Alber [2011], Soft Matter 7, 4983-4992.

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