Striated acto-myosin fibers can rerganize and register in response to elastic interactions with the matrix

Benjamin M. Friedrich, Amnon Buxboim, Dennis E. Discher, Samuel A. Safran*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The remarkable striation of muscle has fascinated many for centuries. In developing muscle cells, as well as in many adherent, nonmuscle cell types, striated, stress fiberlike structures with sarcomere-periodicity tend to register: Based on several studies, neighboring, parallel fibers at the basal membrane of cultured cells establish registry of their respective periodic sarcomeric architecture, but, to our knowledge, the mechanism has not yet been identified. Here, we propose for cells plated on an elastic substrate or adhered to a neighboring cell, that acto-myosin contractility in striated fibers close to the basal membrane induces substrate strain that gives rise to an elastic interaction between neighboring striated fibers, which in turn favors interfiber registry. Our physical theory predicts a dependence of interfiber registry on externally controllable elastic properties of the substrate. In developing muscle cells, registry of striated fibers (premyofibrils and nascent myofibrils) has been suggested as one major pathway of myofibrillogenesis, where it precedes the fusion of neighboring fibers. This suggests a mechanical basis for the optimal myofibrillogenesis on muscle-mimetic elastic substrates that was recently observed by several groups in cultures of mouse-, human-, and chick-derived muscle cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2706-2715
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Academic Exchange Service, the Israel Science Foundation, the Schmidt Minerva Center, the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), and the historic generosity of the Perlman Family Foundation.


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