Active Gels
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A model cytoskeleton shows non-equilibrium fluctuations and 100-fold stiffening 

Cells both actively generate and sensitively react to forces through their mechanical framework, the cytoskeleton, which is a nonequilibrium composite material including polymers and motor proteins. We study the dynamics and mechanical properties of a simple model cytoskeleton and show that stresses arising from motor activity control the network mechanics, increasing stiffness by a factor of nearly 100 and qualitatively changing the viscoelastic response of the network. We present a quantitative theoretical model connecting the large-scale properties of this active gel to molecular force generation.



D Mizuno, C Tardin, CF Schmidt, FC MacKintosh, Nonequilibrium mechanics of active cytoskeletal networks. Science, 315:370 (2007).

FC MacKintosh and AJ Levine
Non-equilibrium mechanics and dynamics of motor-activated gels
Physical Review Letters, 100:018104 (2008).

CP Broedersz and FC MacKintosh
Molecular motors stiffen non-affine semiflexible polymer networks

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