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Mechanobiology of the cell surface: Probing its remodeling dynamics using membrane tether pulling assays with optical tweezers

JULIANA SOARES1,2,#, DOUGLAS G. FREITAS1,3,#, PEDRO S. LOURENÇO1,4, JEFTE FARIAS1,5, BRUNO PONTES1,2,3,4,5,*
1 Centro Nacional de Biologia Estrutural e Bioimagem-CENABIO, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902, Brazil
2 Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Biológicas Biofísica, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902, Brazil
3 Programa de Pós-graduação Multidisciplinar em Física Aplicada, Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-972, Brazil
4 Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902, Brazil
5 Programa de Pós-graduação em Biotecnologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, 69067-005, Brazil
* Corresponding Author: Bruno Pontes,
# These authors contributed equally
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Molecular and Cellular Nanobiotechnology)

BIOCELL 2022, 46(9), 2009-2013. https://doi.org/10.32604/biocell.2022.019969

Received 28 October 2021; Accepted 27 January 2022; Issue published 18 May 2022

Abstract

Mammalian cell surfaces consist of the plasma membrane supported by an underneath cortical cytoskeleton. Together, these structures can control not only the shape of cells but also a series of cellular functions ranging from migration and division to exocytosis, endocytosis and differentiation. Furthermore, the cell surface is capable of exerting and reacting to mechanical forces. Its viscoelastic properties, especially membrane tension and bending modulus, are fundamental parameters involved in these responses. This viewpoint summarizes our current knowledge on how to measure the viscoelastic properties of cell surfaces employing optical tweezers-based tether assays, paving the way for a better understanding of how cells react to external mechanical forces, with a glance on their remodeling dynamics and possible consequences on downstream cellular processes.

Keywords

Cell surface architecture, Actin cortex, Membrane-cytoskeleton complex, Optical tweezers, Tether extraction

Cite This Article

SOARES, J., FREITAS, D. G., LOURENÇO, P. S., FARIAS, J., PONTES, B. et al. (2022). Mechanobiology of the cell surface: Probing its remodeling dynamics using membrane tether pulling assays with optical tweezers. BIOCELL, 46(9), 2009–2013.



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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