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Phys Biol. 2011 Feb;8(1):015009. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/8/1/015009. Epub 2011 Feb 7.

The role of the cytoskeleton in cellular force generation in 2D and 3D environments.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract

To adhere and migrate, cells generate forces through the cytoskeleton that are transmitted to the surrounding matrix. While cellular force generation has been studied on 2D substrates, less is known about cytoskeletal-mediated traction forces of cells embedded in more in vivo-like 3D matrices. Recent studies have revealed important differences between the cytoskeletal structure, adhesion, and migration of cells in 2D and 3D. Because the cytoskeleton mediates force, we sought to directly compare the role of the cytoskeleton in modulating cell force in 2D and 3D. MDA-MB-231 cells were treated with agents that perturbed actin, microtubules, or myosin, and analyzed for changes in cytoskeletal organization and force generation in both 2D and 3D. To quantify traction stresses in 2D, traction force microscopy was used; in 3D, force was assessed based on single cell-mediated collagen fibril reorganization imaged using confocal reflectance microscopy. Interestingly, even though previous studies have observed differences in cell behaviors like migration in 2D and 3D, our data indicate that forces generated on 2D substrates correlate with forces within 3D matrices. Disruption of actin, myosin or microtubules in either 2D or 3D microenvironments disrupts cell-generated force. These data suggest that despite differences in cytoskeletal organization in 2D and 3D, actin, microtubules and myosin contribute to contractility and matrix reorganization similarly in both microenvironments.

PMID:
21301071
PMCID:
PMC3138199
DOI:
10.1088/1478-3975/8/1/015009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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