Cortical Flow-Driven Shapes of Nonadherent Cells

A. Callan-Jones , V. Ruprecht , S. Wieser , C.P. Heisenberg , R. Voituriez

Bibtex , URL
Published 15 Jan. 2016
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.028102
ISSN: 0031-9007


Nonadherent polarized cells have been observed to have a pearlike, elongated shape. Using a minimal model that describes the cell cortex as a thin layer of contractile active gel, we show that the anisotropy of active stresses, controlled by cortical viscosity and filament ordering, can account for this morphology. The predicted shapes can be determined from the flow pattern only; they prove to be independent of the mechanism at the origin of the cortical flow, and are only weakly sensitive to the cytoplasmic rheology. In the case of actin flows resulting from a contractile instability, we propose a phase diagram of three-dimensional cell shapes that encompasses nonpolarized spherical, elongated, as well as oblate shapes, all of which have been observed in experiment.

Cette publication est associée à :

Dynamique stochastique des systèmes réactifs et vivants