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An Easy-to-Fabricate Cell Stretcher Reveals Density-Dependent Mechanical Regulation of Collective Cell Movements in Epithelia

Authors
Hart, Kevin C.Sim, Joo YongHopcroft, Matthew A.Cohen, Daniel J.Tan, JiongyiNelson, W. JamesPruitt, Beth L.
Issue Date
Dec-2021
Publisher
SPRINGER
Keywords
Mechanobiology; Cellular biomechanics; Epithelial monolayer; Cell strain; Live-cell imaging
Citation
CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BIOENGINEERING, v.14, no.6, pp 569 - 581
Pages
13
Journal Title
CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BIOENGINEERING
Volume
14
Number
6
Start Page
569
End Page
581
URI
https://scholarworks.sookmyung.ac.kr/handle/2020.sw.sookmyung/146078
DOI
10.1007/s12195-021-00689-6
ISSN
1865-5025
1865-5033
Abstract
Introduction Mechanical forces regulate many facets of cell and tissue biology. Studying the effects of forces on cells requires real-time observations of single- and multi-cell dynamics in tissue models during controlled external mechanical input. Many of the existing devices used to conduct these studies are costly and complicated to fabricate, which reduces the availability of these devices to many laboratories. Methods We show how to fabricate a simple, low-cost, uniaxial stretching device, with readily available materials and instruments that is compatible with high-resolution time-lapse microscopy of adherent cell monolayers. In addition, we show how to construct a pressure controller that induces a repeatable degree of stretch in monolayers, as well as a custom MATLAB code to quantify individual cell strains. Results As an application note using this device, we show that uniaxial stretch slows down cellular movements in a mammalian epithelial monolayer in a cell density-dependent manner. We demonstrate that the effect on cell movement involves the relocalization of myosin downstream of Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK). Conclusions This mechanical device provides a platform for broader involvement of engineers and biologists in this important area of cell and tissue biology. We used this device to demonstrate the mechanical regulation of collective cell movements in epithelia.
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