WIT Press


Cells, Gels And Mechanics

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/DN040431

Volume

73

Pages

10

Published

2004

Size

1,038 kb

Author(s)

G.H. Pollack

Abstract

The cell is a gel. Yet, gel-like features of the cytoplasm have hardly been exploited for engineering design. If the cell is a gel, then a logical approach to the understanding of cell function may be through an understanding of gel function. Great strides have been made recently in understanding the principles of gel dynamics. It has become clear that a central mechanism in biology is the polymer-gel phase-transition — a major structural change prompted by a subtle change of environment. Phase-transitions are capable of doing work, and such mechanisms could be responsible for much of the work of the cell. Here, we consider this approach. We set up a polymer-gel-based foundation for cell function, and explore the extent to which this foundation explains how the cell goes about its business, with an eye toward exploiting these principles for engineering design. Keywords: cell, gel-like n

Keywords