Nonlinear stress relaxation of transiently crosslinked biopolymer networks

Sihan Chen, Chase P. Broedersz, Tomer Markovich, Fred C. MacKintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A long-standing puzzle in the rheology of living cells is the origin of the experimentally observed long-time stress relaxation. The mechanics of the cell is largely dictated by the cytoskeleton, which is a biopolymer network consisting of transient crosslinkers, allowing for stress relaxation over time. Moreover, these networks are internally stressed due to the presence of molecular motors. In this work we propose a theoretical model that uses a mode-dependent mobility to describe the stress relaxation of such prestressed transient networks. Our theoretical predictions agree favorably with experimental data of reconstituted cytoskeletal networks and may provide an explanation for the slow stress relaxation observed in cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034418
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


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