Probing eukaryotic cell mechanics via mesoscopic simulations

K. Lykov, Y. Nematbakhsh, M. Shang, C. T. Lim, I. V. Pivkin, PLOS Computational Biology 13, e1005726 (2017). (doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005726)

Cell mechanics has proven to be important in many biological processes. Although there is a number of experimental techniques which allow us to study mechanical properties of cell, there is still a lack of understanding of the role each sub-cellular components plays during cell deformations. We present a new mesoscopic particle-based eukaryotic cell model which explicitly describes cell membrane, nucleus and cytoskeleton. We employ Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD) method that provides us with the unified framework for modeling of a cell and its interactions in the flow. Data from micropipette aspiration experiments were used to define model parameters. The model was validated using data from microfluidic experiments. The validated model was then applied to study the impact of the sub-cellular components on the cell viscoelastic response in micropipette aspiration and microfluidic experiments.

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