Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bioengineers devise nanoscale system to measure cellular forces

28.08.2007
University of Pennsylvania researchers have designed a nanoscale system to observe and measure how individual cells react to external forces.

By combining microfabricated cantilevers and magnetic nanowire technology to create independent, nanoscale sensors, the study showed that cells respond to outside forces and demonstrated a dynamic biological relationship between cells and their environment.

The study also revealed that cells sense force at a single adhesion point that leads not to a local response but to a remote response from the cell’s internal forces, akin to tickling the cell’s elbow and watching the knee kick.

“The cell senses the force that we apply and adjusts its own internal forces to compensate,” Chris Chen, an associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Penn, said. “This suggests that either the cell’s cytoskeleton dictates the reaction or the cell organizes a biochemical response. In either instance, cells are adapting at the microscale.”

... more about:
»Cellular »function »internal »nanoscale »nanowire

The findings prove useful to more than just an understanding of the mechanics of single cells. Physical forces play a strong role in how whole tissue grows and functions. Using the Penn system, researchers could monitor for differences in how forces are sensed or generated in normal and diseased cells. This could lead to new therapeutic drug targets and to methods for modifying how cells interact with each other.

To study the cell’s biomechanical response to forces, Chen and his team applied force to each cell using microfabricated arrays of magnetic posts containing cobalt nanowires interspersed amongst an array of non-magnetic posts. In the magnetic field, the posts with nanowires applied an external force to cells cultured on the tops of the posts. Nonmagnetic posts acted as sensors in which traction forces in each cell were measured. Recording the traction forces in response to such force stimulation revealed two responses: a sudden loss in contractility that occurred within the first minute of stimulation or a gradual decay in contractility over several minutes.

For both types of responses, the subcellular distribution of loss in traction forces was not confined to locations near the actuated micropost or uniformly across the whole cell but instead occurred at discrete locations along the cell periphery. Together, these data suggest that cells actively adjust their internal tension to mechanical forces arising in their microenvironment and reveal an important dynamic biological relationship between external and internal forces.

Mechanical forces contribute to many cellular functions, including changes in gene expression, proliferation and differentiation.

Applying shear or tensile stresses to cells in culture, for example, can induce changes in adhesion regulation, intracellular signaling and cell function much like internal forces do. The similarities in cellular responses to external and internal forces have led to the suggestion that both types of forces may use shared mechanotransduction pathways to convert mechanical stimuli into biochemical signals. While externally applied and internally generated forces may act independently on cells, the University of Pennsylvania team postulated and then showed that they are coupled.

Jordan Reese | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

Further reports about: Cellular function internal nanoscale nanowire

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland

nachricht Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>