Abstract

The cell is modeled as a fluid filled bag. The cytoskeletal elements radiate out from the center of the cell and attach to the cell membrane. The fluid pressure in the cell causes the membrane and the cytoskeletal elements to be in pretension. Using finite element methods, we show that by relatively small changes in the membrane dimensions, cytoskeletal properties and by reorganizing cytoskeletal structure, a cell can change its bulk modulus by two orders of magnitude. This approach combined with appropriate experiments can be used to model how cells respond and remodel in response to mechanical loads.

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