Elasto-plastic response of reversibly crosslinked biopolymer bundles
Institute for Theoretical Physics, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Friedrich-Hund Platz 1, 37077, Göttingen, Germany
Revised: 4 June 2014
Accepted: 11 June 2014
Published online: 27 June 2014
We study the response of F-actin bundles to driving forces through a simple analytical model. We consider two filaments connected by reversibly bound crosslinks and driven by an external force. Two failure modes under load can be defined. Brittle failure is observed when crosslinks suddenly and collectively unbind, leading to catastrophic loss of bundle integrity. During ductile failure, on the other hand, bundle integrity is maintained, however at the cost of crosslink reorganization and defect formation. We present phase diagrams for the onset of failure, highlighting the importance of the crosslink stiffness for these processes. Crossing the phase boundaries, force-deflection curves display (frequency-dependent) hysteresis loops, reflecting the first-order character of the failure processes. We evidence how the introduction of defects can lead to complex elasto-plastic relaxation processes, once the force is switched off. Depending on, both the time-scale for defect motion and the crosslink stiffness, bundles can remain in a quasi-permanent plastically deformed state for a very long time.
Key words: Living systems: Cellular Processes
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2014