Collective effects in muscle contraction and cellular adhesion

Abstract : Two biological systems, a half-sarcomere of a skeletal muscle and an adhesive cluster of a crawling keratocyte, are considered in parallel because of the deep similarity in their structure and functionality. Their passive response can be modeled by a large number of multi-stable units coupled through long-range interactions, frustrated by quenched disorder and exposed to thermal noise. In such systems, long-range interactions lead to synchronization, defying temporal and spatial fluctuations. We use a mean-field description to obtain analytic results and elucidate the remarkable ensemble-dependence of the mechanical behavior of such systems in the thermodynamic limit. Despite important structural differences between muscle cross-bridges and adhesive binders, one can identify a common underlying spin glass structure, which we fully exploit in this work. Our study suggests that the muscle machinery is fine-tuned to operate near criticality, and we argue that in this respect the quenched disorder, reflecting here steric incommensuration, may be functional. We use the analogy between cell detachment and thermal fracture of disordered solids to study the statistics of fluctuations during cellular adhesion. We relate the obtained results to recent observations of intermittent behavior involved in cell debonding, also suggesting near-criticality. In addition to the study of the equilibrium properties of adhesive clusters, we also present the first results on their kinetic behavior in the presence of time-dependent loading.
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Hudson Borja da Rocha. Collective effects in muscle contraction and cellular adhesion. Biological Physics [physics.bio-ph]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLX072⟩. ⟨tel-02388502⟩

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