Navigation Links
Small mechanical forces have big impact on embryonic stem cells

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Applying a small mechanical force to embryonic stem cells could be a new way of coaxing them into a specific direction of differentiation, researchers at the University of Illinois report. Applications for force-directed cell differentiation include therapeutic cloning and regenerative medicine.

"Our results suggest that small forces may indeed play critical roles in inducing strong biological responses in embryonic stem cells, and in shaping embryos during their early development," said Ning Wang, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at the U. of I., and corresponding author of a paper accepted for publication in Nature Materials and posted on the journal's Web site.

Cell softness is an intrinsic property of embryonic stem cells and dictates how a cell responds to forces in its physical microenvironment. Those responses include how strongly the cell attaches to a surface, how far the cell spreads on a surface, and, most surprisingly, whether specific genes are expressed.

To study cellular sensitivity to force, Wang and his collaborators first attached a magnetic bead, 4 microns in diameter, to the surface of a living embryonic stem cell. Then they applied a tiny oscillating magnetic field, which moved the bead up and down. By precisely measuring the magnetic field and the distance the bead traveled, the effect of the mechanical force and how soft the cells are could be determined.

The cyclic nature of the mechanical force is very important, Wang said, as it simulates natural forces within a living cell, such as the cyclic movement of the motor protein myosin.

The researchers found that mouse embryonic stem cells were softer and much more sensitive to localized cyclic forces than their more advanced, differentiated counterparts.

"As stem cells differentiate, they become stiffer," said Wang, who is affiliated with the university's Beckman Institute, Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, and department of bioengineering. "The stiffer the stem cell, the less it spreads under stress."

The researchers obtained the same results when they applied cyclic forces to stiff human muscle cells. They did not experiment with human embryonic stem cells.

To study some of the long-term effects of localized mechanical forces on the behavior of mouse embryonic stem cells, the researchers utilized the expression of an enhanced green fluorescent gene. Cells expressing this gene glow fluorescent green when exposed to blue light.

As the mechanical force was applied in the researchers' experiments, the green fluorescence in cells with magnetic beads faded, indicating reduced gene expression. Control cells (without beads) a few microns away continued to glow.

"The softness of mouse embryonic stem cells makes them very sensitive to localized cyclic forces," Wang said. "If our findings can be extended to early animal embryos, they could provide a new way of locally differentiating a single cell of early lineage, while leaving nearby cells alone."


Contact: James E. Kloeppel
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Related biology news :

1. Fate Therapeutics announces creation of small molecule platform for commercial-scale reprogramming
2. Conservation targets too small to stop extinction
3. Small molecule inhibits pathology associated with myotonic dystrophy type 1
4. Small rodents encourage the formation of scrubland in Spain
5. Harvard research team receives $10M NSF grant to develop small-scale mobile robotic devices
6. After dinosaurs, mammals rise but their genomes get smaller
7. Smaller than expected, but severe, dead zone in Gulf of Mexico
8. Smaller plants punch above their weight in the forest, say Queens biologists
9. New research shows dinosaurs may have been smaller than we thought
10. Small molecules mimic natural gene regulators
11. Small molecules might block mutant protein production in Huntingtons disease
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... OXFORD, Connecticut , November 20, 2015 ... biometric authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce ... its CEO, Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed ... The interview will air on this weekend on ... Bloomberg Latin America . --> NXTD ) ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... 19, 2015  Although some 350 companies are actively ... a few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche ... the market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing ... Market for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... still controlled by one company and only a handful ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... ALBANY, New York , November 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Transparency Market Research has published a new market report ... Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to ... bn in 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 ... 2015 to 2021. North America ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... PUNE, India , November 27, 2015 ... --> Growing popularity of companion ... emerging in cancer biomarkers market with pharmaceutical ... develop in-demand companion diagnostic tests. ... --> Complete report on global ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- 2 nouvelles études permettent d , ... entre les souches bactériennes retrouvées dans la plaque ... . Ces recherches  ouvrent une nouvelle voie ... efficace de l,un des problèmes de santé les ...    --> 2 nouvelles études permettent d ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A ... Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum ... met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: