Non-equilibration of hydrostatic pressure in blebbing cells

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Original Entry by Holly McIlwee, AP225 Fall 09


Non-equilibration of hydrostatic pressure in blebbing cells, G. Charras, J. Yarrow, M. Horton, L. Mahadevan and T. Mitchison, Nature, 435, 365-69. 2005.


Blebs are large protrusions on a surface of a cell. The mechanism by which blebs occur is assigned to the separation of the plasma membrane from the cytoskelton and subsequent swelling and retraction. The process of bleb formation and retraction lasts on the order of tens of seconds, over about 10 microns of the cell surface and typically occurs during and in aid of apoptosis, cytokinesis, and cell movement.

In plant cells, cell membrane protrusions are governed by hydrostatic pressure. Current models of animal cells dictate that protrusions are governed by local regulation of actin biochemistry and therefore treat models of the cytoskeleton as a incompressible, viscoelastic species. The problem with this assumption is that this assumes the hydrostatic pressure equilibrates immediately across the entire cell. The author of this manuscript expresses unease with this assumption and sets out herein to create a model for non-equilibrium hydrostatic pressure to explain the blebbing phenomena.


Cell blebbing, Poroelasticity, Hydrostatic pressure

Soft Matter