Departmental Papers (CBE)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

November 2003


Copyright American Physical Society. Reprinted from Physical Review Letters, Volume 91, Issue 19, Article 198101, November 2003, 4 pages.
Publisher URL:


We report the first measurements of the intrinsic strain fluctuations of living cells using a recently developed tracer correlation technique along with a theoretical framework for interpreting such data in heterogeneous media with nonthermal driving. The fluctuations’ spatial and temporal correlations indicate that the cytoskeleton can be treated as a course-grained continuum with power-law rheology, driven by a spatially random stress tensor field. Combined with recent cell rheology results, our data imply that intracellular stress fluctuations have a nearly 1/ω2 power spectrum, as expected for a continuum with a slowly evolving internal prestress.



Date Posted: 20 December 2005

This document has been peer reviewed.