Europhys. Lett.
Volume 64, Number 5, December 2003
Page(s) 716 - 722
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 01 November 2003
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-00618-2
Europhys. Lett., 64 (5) , pp. 716-722 (2003)

Continuum theory of contractile fibres

K. Kruse, A. Zumdieck and F. Jülicher

Max-Planck-Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme Nöthnitzer Str. 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany

(Received 21 July 2003; accepted in final form 1 October 2003)

The generation of contractile forces by living cells often involves linear arrangements of actively interacting polar filaments. We develop a physical description of the dynamics of active fibers based on a general expression for the tension in terms of the filament density and the bundle polarisation. We discuss the long-time behaviour of oriented and of nonpolar fibres, discuss effects of polymerization and depolymerization, and relate this continuum theory to nonlocal descriptions of filament-motor systems. We show that a nonpolar arrangement of filaments suppresses oscillatory instabilities which could be relevant for muscle fibers.

87.16.Ka - Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies.
05.45.-a - Nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems.

© EDP Sciences 2003