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Bioengineers at University of Pennsylvania devise nanoscale system to measure cellular forces
Date:8/27/2007

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.


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Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@pobox.upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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