The simulation of stress fibre and focal adhesion development in cells on patterned substrates

Amit Pathak, Vikram S. Deshpande, Robert Maxwell McMeeking, Anthony G. Evans

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101 Citations (Scopus)


The remodelling of the cytoskeleton and focal adhesion (FA) distributions for cells on substrates with micro-patterned ligand patches is investigated using a bio-chemo-mechanical model. We investigate the effect of ligand pattern shape on the cytoskeletal arrangements and FA distributions for cells having approximately the same area. The cytoskeleton model accounts for the dynamic rearrangement of the actin/myosin stress fibres. It entails the highly nonlinear interactions between signalling, the kinetics of tension-dependent stress-fibre formation/dissolution and stress-dependent contractility. This model is coupled with another model that governs FA formation and accounts for the mechano-sensitivity of the adhesions from thermodynamic considerations. This coupled modelling scheme is shown to capture a variety of key experimental observations including: (i) the formation of high concentrations of stress fibres and FAs at the periphery of circular and triangular, convex-shaped ligand patterns; (ii) the development of high FA concentrations along the edges of the V-, T-, Y- and U-shaped concave ligand patterns; and (iii) the formation of highly aligned stress fibres along the non-adhered edges of cells on the concave ligand patterns. When appropriately calibrated, the model also accurately predicts the radii of curvature of the non-adhered edges of cells on the concave-shaped ligand patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-524
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2008


  • mechano-sensitivity
  • stress fibre
  • actin
  • micro-pattern


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