Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Micropillar displacements by cell traction forces are mechanically correlated with nuclear dynamics.

PMID 25911321


Cells sense physical cues at the level of focal adhesions and transduce them to the nucleus by biochemical and mechanical pathways. While the molecular intermediates in the mechanical links have been well studied, their dynamic coupling is poorly understood. In this study, fibroblast cells were adhered to micropillar arrays to probe correlations in the physical coupling between focal adhesions and nucleus. For this, we used novel imaging setup to simultaneously visualize micropillar deflections and EGFP labeled chromatin structure at high spatial and temporal resolution. We observed that micropillar deflections, depending on their relative positions, were positively or negatively correlated to nuclear and heterochromatin movements. Our results measuring the time scales between micropillar deflections and nucleus centroid displacement are suggestive of a strong elastic coupling that mediates differential force transmission to the nucleus.