We present a minimal continuum model of strongly adhering cells as active contractile isotropic media and use the model for studying the effect of the geometry of the adhesion patch in controlling the spatial distribution of traction and cellular stresses. Activity is introduced as a contractile, hence negative, spatially homogeneous contribution to the pressure. The model shows that patterning of adhesion regions can be used to control traction stress distribution and yields several results consistent with experimental observations. Specifically, the cell spread area is found to increase with substrate stiffness and an analytic expression of the dependence is obtained for circular cells. The correlation between the magnitude of traction stresses and cell boundary curvature is also demonstrated and analyzed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)