Role of Turnover in Active Stress Generation in a Filament Network

Phys Rev Lett. 2016 May 6;116(18):188101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.188101. Epub 2016 May 6.


We study the effect of turnover of cross-linkers, motors, and filaments on the generation of a contractile stress in a network of filaments connected by passive cross-linkers and subjected to the forces exerted by molecular motors. We perform numerical simulations where filaments are treated as rigid rods and molecular motors move fast compared to the time scale of an exchange of cross-linkers. We show that molecular motors create a contractile stress above a critical number of cross-linkers. When passive cross-linkers are allowed to turn over, the stress exerted by the network vanishes due to the formation of clusters. When both filaments and passive cross-linkers turn over, clustering is prevented and the network reaches a dynamic contractile steady state. A maximum stress is reached for an optimum ratio of the filament and cross-linker turnover rates. Taken together, our work reveals conditions for stress generation by molecular motors in a fluid isotropic network of rearranging filaments.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Cytoskeleton*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins*
  • Muscle Contraction


  • Molecular Motor Proteins