How surrogates for cortical forces determine cell shape

Jay Stotsky, Hans G. Othmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent experimental work has shown that numerous cell types can use different modes to move in different environments. Some cells crawl and some swim, but many can do both, and understanding how they interrogate their environment and determine how to move in response to information acquired is central to understanding basic processes ranging from early development to cancer metastasis. Cell movement usually involves shape changes, which are determined by both intra- and extracellular forces. Intracellular forces are transmitted to the membrane via tractions exerted on the membrane by the cell cortex, a thin composite of actin filaments, motor proteins and various linker proteins underlying the membrane, and herein we determine how surrogates for the normal and tangential components of cortical forces determine the shape of cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103907
JournalInternational Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NSF, United States Grant DMS 1311974 , NIH, United States Grant 54-CA-210190 , the Isaac Newton Institute, United Kingdom , and the Simons Foundation, United States .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bending modulus
  • Cell motility
  • Cellular cortex
  • Helfrich flow
  • Surface mechanics


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