Finite elasticity of the vertex model and its role in rigidity of curved cellular tissues

Arthur Hernandez*, Michael F. Staddon, Michael Moshe, M. Cristina Marchetti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a mean field approach and simulations, we study the non-linear mechanical response of the vertex model (VM) of biological tissue to compression and dilation. The VM is known to exhibit a transition between solid and fluid-like, or floppy, states driven by geometric incompatibility. Target perimeter and area set a target shape which may not be geometrically achievable, thereby engendering frustration. Previously, an asymmetry in the linear elastic response was identified at the rigidity transition between compression and dilation. Here we show that the asymmetry extends away from the transition point for finite strains. Under finite compression, an initially solid VM can completely relax perimeter tension, resulting in a drop discontinuity in the mechanical response. Conversely, an initially floppy VM under dilation can rigidify and have a higher response. These observations imply that re-scaling of cell area shifts the transition between rigid and floppy states. Based on this insight, we calculate the re-scaling of cell area engendered by intrinsic curvature and write a prediction for the rigidity transition in the presence of curvature. The shift of the rigidity transition in the presence of curvature for the VM provides a new metric for predicting tissue rigidity from image data of curved tissues in a manner analogous to the flat case.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7744-7752
Number of pages9
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number40
StatePublished - 13 Sep 2023

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© 2023 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


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