Department of Physiology
3T3 Cells; Acrylic Resins; Actins; Animals; Cell Movement; Cell Size; Collagen; Cytochalasin D; Cytoskeleton; Elasticity; Fluorescent Dyes; Mice; Myosins; Nocodazole; Stress, Mechanical; Time Factors; Vinculin
Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences
We have developed a new approach to detect mechanical forces exerted by locomoting fibroblasts on the substrate. Cells were cultured on elastic, collagen-coated polyacrylamide sheets embedded with 0. 2-micrometer fluorescent beads. Forces exerted by the cell cause deformation of the substrate and displacement of the beads. By recording the position of beads during cell locomotion and after cell removal, we discovered that most forces were radially distributed, switching direction in the anterior region. Deformations near the leading edge were strong, transient, and variable in magnitude, consistent with active local contractions, whereas those in the posterior region were weaker, more stable, and more uniform, consistent with passive resistance. Treatment of cells with cytochalasin D or myosin II inhibitors caused relaxation of the forces, suggesting that they are generated primarily via actin-myosin II interactions; treatment with nocodazole caused no immediate effect on forces. Immunofluorescence indicated that the frontal region of strong deformation contained many vinculin plaques but no apparent concentration of actin or myosin II filaments. Strong mechanical forces in the anterior region, generated by locally activated myosin II and transmitted through vinculin-rich structures, likely play a major role in cell locomotion and in mechanical signaling with the surrounding environment.
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Citation: Mol Biol Cell. 1999 Apr;10(4):935-45.
Molecular biology of the cell
Pelham, Robert J. and Wang, Yu-Li, "High resolution detection of mechanical forces exerted by locomoting fibroblasts on the substrate" (1999). Open Access Articles. 1402.