Three-dimensional force microscopy

December 7, 2015, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

FAU researchers develop method of measuring forces of tumor cells as they migrate through connective tissue.

Julian Steinwachs and colleagues at the Biophysics Group investigated tumour cell migration in artificial made of collagen, which mimics the natural matrix of organs in terms of its , structure and other material properties. The idea behind their method is simple: the researchers first measured the deformation of the connective tissue around the migrating cells. If the elasticity of the connective tissue is known, it can then be used like a spring scale to calculate the cell forces from the tissue deformations.

A particular challenge for the researchers was that connective tissue is initially soft when forces are weak, but stiffens at the level of forces generated by . Tumour cells also used part of their forces to elongate into a spindle-like shape, allowing them to migrate at a remarkable speed even through very small pores of the connective tissue. In their next project, the researchers will apply this method to investigate differences in the cell forces between differently aggressive tumours.

Explore further: New force sensing method reveals how cells sense tissue stiffness

More information: Three-dimensional force microscopy of cells in biopolymer networks, dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.3685

Related Stories

Scientists bringing cells on the fast track

October 6, 2014

During cancer metastasis, immune response cells are moving in a controlled manner through the body. Researchers from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel discovered novel mechanisms of cell migration by ...

Scientists grow functional vocal cord tissue in the lab

November 18, 2015

University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists have succeeded in growing functional vocal cord tissue in the laboratory, a major step toward restoring a voice to people who have lost their vocal cords to cancer surgery or other ...

Making bone in the lab

August 20, 2015

Every year there are around 60,000 hip, 50,000 forearm and 40,000 vertebral fractures in the UK. At the Bone and Joint Research Group at the University of Southampton, Professor Richard Oreffo and team have made pioneering ...

Recommended for you

X-rays reveal chirality in swirling electric vortices

January 16, 2018

Scientists used spiraling X-rays at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to observe, for the first time, a property that gives handedness to swirling electric patterns – dubbed ...

Quan­tum physics turned into tan­gi­ble re­al­ity

January 16, 2018

ETH physicists have developed a silicon wafer that behaves like a topological insulator when stimulated using ultrasound. They have thereby succeeded in turning an abstract theoretical concept into a macroscopic product.

Slow 'hot electrons' could improve solar cell efficiency

January 16, 2018

Photons with energy higher than the band gap of the semiconductor absorbing them give rise to what are known as hot electrons. The extra energy in respect to the band gap is lost very fast, as it is converted into heat and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.