We investigate the effect of stress fluctuations on the stochastic dynamics of an inclusion embedded in a viscous gel. We show that, in nonequilibrium systems, stress fluctuations give rise to an effective attraction towards the boundaries of the confining domain, which is reminiscent of an active Casimir effect. We apply this generic result to the dynamics of deformations of the cell nucleus, and we demonstrate the appearance of a fluctuation maximum at a critical level of activity, in agreement with recent experiments [E. Makhija, D. S. Jokhun, and G. V. Shivashankar, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 113, E32 (2016)PNASA60027-842410.1073/pnas.1513189113].

VL - 120 IS - 9 ER - TY - JOUR T1 - Soft inclusion in a confined fluctuating active gel. JF - Phys Rev E Y1 - 2018 A1 - Singh Vishen, Amit A1 - Rupprecht, J-F A1 - Shivashankar, G V A1 - Prost, J A1 - Rao, Madan AB -We study stochastic dynamics of a point and extended inclusion within a one-dimensional confined active viscoelastic gel. We show that the dynamics of a point inclusion can be described by a Langevin equation with a confining potential and multiplicative noise. Using a systematic adiabatic elimination over the fast variables, we arrive at an overdamped equation with a proper definition of the multiplicative noise. To highlight various features and to appeal to different biological contexts, we treat the inclusion in turn as a rigid extended element, an elastic element, and a viscoelastic (Kelvin-Voigt) element. The dynamics for the shape and position of the extended inclusion can be described by coupled Langevin equations. Deriving exact expressions for the corresponding steady-state probability distributions, we find that the active noise induces an attraction to the edges of the confining domain. In the presence of a competing centering force, we find that the shape of the probability distribution exhibits a sharp transition upon varying the amplitude of the active noise. Our results could help understanding the positioning and deformability of biological inclusions, e.g., organelles in cells, or nucleus and cells within tissues.

VL - 97 IS - 3-1 ER -