Cell cytoskeleton and tensegrity

K. Yu Volokh, O. Vilnay, M. Belsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The role of tensegrity architecture of the cytoskeleton in the mechanical behavior of living cells is examined by computational studies. Plane and spatial tensegrity models of the cytoskeleton are considered as well as their non-tensegrity counterparts. Local buckling including deep postbuckling response of the compressed microtubules of the cytoskeleton is considered. The tensioned microfilaments cannot sustain compression. Large deformation of the whole model is accounted and fully nonlinear analysis is performed. It is shown that in the case of local buckling of the microtubules non-tensegrity models exhibit qualitatively the same linear stiffening as their tensegrity counterparts. This result raises the question of experimental validation of the local buckling of microtubules. If the microtubules of real cells are not straight, then tensegrity (in a narrow sense) is not a necessary attribute of the cytoskeleton architecture. If the microtubules are straight then tensegrity is more likely to be the cytoskeletal architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-67
Number of pages5
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 24 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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