Localization and diffusion of tracer particles in viscoelastic media with active force dipoles

Kento Yasuda, Ryuichi Okamoto, Shigeyuki Komura, Alexander S. Mikhailov

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Optical tracking in vivo experiments reveal that diffusion of particles in biological cells is strongly enhanced in the presence of ATP and the experimental data for animal cells could previously be reproduced within a phenomenological model of a gel with myosin motors acting within it (Fodor É. et al., EPL, 110 (2015) 48005). Here, the two-fluid model of a gel is considered where active macromolecules, described as force dipoles, cyclically operate both in the elastic and the fluid components. Through coarse-graining, effective equations of motions for idealized tracer particles displaying local deformations and local fluid flows are derived. The equation for deformation tracers coincides with the earlier phenomenological model and thus confirms it. For flow tracers, diffusion enhancement caused by active force dipoles in the fluid component, and thus due to metabolic activity, is found. The latter effect may explain why ATP-dependent diffusion enhancement could also be observed in bacteria that lack molecular motors in their skeleton or when the activity of myosin motors was chemically inhibited in eukaryotic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38001
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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