Shape regulation generates elastic interaction between living cells

Roman Golkov, Yair Shokef*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The organization of live cells to tissues is associated with the mechanical interaction between cells, which is mediated through their elastic environment. We model cells as spherical active force dipoles surrounded by an infinite elastic matrix, and analytically evaluate the interaction energy for different scenarios of their regulatory behavior. We obtain attraction for homeostatic (set point) forces and repulsion for homeostatic displacements. When the translational motion of the cells is regulated, the interaction energy decays with distance as , while when it is not regulated the energy decays as . This arises from the same reasons as the van der Waals interaction between induced electric dipoles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063011
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • cell mechanics
  • elasticity
  • mechanical regulation


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