A one-step procedure to probe the viscoelastic properties of cells by Atomic Force Microscopy

Chim, Y. H., Mason, L. M., Rath, N., Olson, M. F. , Tassieri, M. and Yin, H. (2018) A one-step procedure to probe the viscoelastic properties of cells by Atomic Force Microscopy. Scientific Reports, 8, 14462. (doi:10.1038/s41598-018-32704-8) (PMID:30262873) (PMCID:PMC6160452)

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Abstract

The increasingly recognised importance of viscoelastic properties of cells in pathological conditions requires rapid development of advanced cell microrheology technologies. Here, we present a novel Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)-microrheology (AFM2) method for measuring the viscoelastic properties in living cells, over a wide range of continuous frequencies (0.005 Hz ~ 200 Hz), from a simple stress-relaxation nanoindentation. Experimental data were directly analysed without the need for pre-conceived viscoelastic models. We show the method had an excellent agreement with conventional oscillatory bulk-rheology measurements in gels, opening a new avenue for viscoelastic characterisation of soft matter using minute quantity of materials (or cells). Using this capability, we investigate the viscoelastic responses of cells in association with cancer cell invasive activity modulated by two important molecular regulators (i.e. mutation of the p53 gene and Rho kinase activity). The analysis of elastic (G′(ω)) and viscous (G″(ω)) moduli of living cells has led to the discovery of a characteristic transitions of the loss tangent (G″(ω)/G′(ω)) in the low frequency range (0.005 Hz ~ 0.1 Hz) that is indicative of the capability for cell restructuring of F-actin network. Our method is ready to be implemented in conventional AFMs, providing a simple yet powerful tool for measuring the viscoelastic properties of living cells.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mason, Ms Louise and Yin, Professor Huabing and Tassieri, Dr Manlio and Chim, Miss Ya Hua and Rath, Dr Nicola and Olson, Professor Michael
Authors: Chim, Y. H., Mason, L. M., Rath, N., Olson, M. F., Tassieri, M., and Yin, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
ISSN (Online):2045-2322
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scientific Reports: 8:14462
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
574961Shell inspiration: turning nature's secrets into engineering solutions.Huabing YinEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/J009121/1ENG - BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
534472Rheology at the Microscale: New Tools for Bio-analysisManlio TassieriEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)10216/101ENG - BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING