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Biophys J. 1998 Jan; 74(1): 514–522.
PMCID: PMC1299403

Membrane bending modulus and adhesion energy of wild-type and mutant cells of Dictyostelium lacking talin or cortexillins.


We have employed an interferometric technique for the local measurement of bending modulus, membrane tension, and adhesion energy of motile cells adhering to a substrate. Wild-type and mutant cells of Dictyostelium discoideum were incubated in a flow chamber. The flow-induced deformation of a cell near its adhesion area was determined by quantitative reflection interference contrast microscopy (RICM) and analyzed in terms of the elastic boundary conditions: equilibrium of tensions and bending moments at the contact line. This technique was employed to quantify changes caused by the lack of talin, a protein that couples the actin network to the plasma membrane, or by the lack of cortexillin I or II, two isoforms of the actin-bundling protein cortexillin. Cells lacking either cortexillin I or II exhibited reduced bending moduli of 95 and 160 k(B)T, respectively, as compared to 390 k(B)T, obtained for wild-type cells. No significant difference was found for the adhesion energies of wild-type and cortexillin mutant cells. In cells lacking talin, not only a strongly reduced bending modulus of 70 k(B)T, but also a low adhesion energy one-fourth of that in wild-type cells was measured.

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Selected References

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