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Nature methods

A DNA-based molecular probe for optically reporting cellular traction forces.


PMID 25306545

Abstract

We developed molecular tension probes (TPs) that report traction forces of adherent cells with high spatial resolution, can in principle be linked to virtually any surface, and obviate monitoring deformations of elastic substrates. TPs consist of DNA hairpins conjugated to fluorophore-quencher pairs that unfold and fluoresce when subjected to specific forces. We applied TPs to reveal that cellular traction forces are heterogeneous within focal adhesions and localized at their distal edges.

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