One of the many effects of soft tissues under mechanical solicitation in the cellular damage produced by highly localized strain. Here, we study the response of peripheral stress fibers (SFs) to external stretch in mammalian cells, plated onto deformable micropatterned substrates. A local fluorescence analysis reveals that an adaptation response is observed at the vicinity of the focal adhesion sites (FAs) due to its mechanosensor function. The response depends on the type of mechanical stress, from a Maxwell-type material in compression to a complex scenario in extension, where a mechanotransduction and a self-healing process takes place in order to prevent the induced severing of the SF. A model is proposed to take into account the effect of the applied stretch on the mechanics of the SF, from which relevant parameters of the healing process are obtained. In contrast, the repair of the actin bundle occurs at the weak point of the SF and depends on the amount of applied strain. As a result, the SFs display strain-softening features due to the incorporation of new actin material into the bundle. In contrast, the response under compression shows a reorganization with a constant actin material suggesting a gliding process of the SFs by the myosin II motors.
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