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Adhesive Models to Understand the Sensitivity of Bio-Molecules to Environmental Signals

Shaohua Chen*

* LNM, Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China. Email:; Tel: 86-10-82543960.

Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics 2008, 5(2), 97-106.


Recently, contact mechanics has been widely used to get some understanding of the biological adhesion mechanisms, such as cell-cell adhesion, insects' adhesion and locomotion. JKR theory is usually adopted as a basis, in which the interaction of molecules is considered in contrast to the classical Hertz solution. In this paper, two problems are summarized, which may give some insights to cells or bio-molecules sensitivity to environmental signals: (1) cell reorientation on a stretched substrate; (2) spontaneous detachment between cells or bio-molecules under the variation of environmental signals. The intention here is only to illustrate the possibilities that contact mechanics may explain or predict some bio-phenomena using simple mechanical models. A complete analysis taking into account the full biological complexities is far beyond the scope of this paper. With this objective in mind, the sensitivity of bio-molecules to the environmental signals is described through the variation of adhesive contact area, which is affected by the external forces or deformations. In the first problem, two-dimensional generalized JKR model is used to explain why there exist three stages with two critical values of stretch amplitude controlling cells' reorientation. Three-dimensional adhesive model is used in the second problem, to analyze the spontaneous detachment between two adhering cells or bio-molecules, which may happen at a critical condition.


Cite This Article

Chen, S. (2008). Adhesive Models to Understand the Sensitivity of Bio-Molecules to Environmental Signals. Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, 5(2), 97–106.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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