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Science. 2013 May 24;340(6135):991-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1231041.

Defining single molecular forces required to activate integrin and notch signaling.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Center for the Physics of Living Cells and Institute for Genomic Biology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.

Abstract

Cell-cell and cell-matrix mechanical interactions through membrane receptors direct a wide range of cellular functions and orchestrate the development of multicellular organisms. To define the single molecular forces required to activate signaling through a ligand-receptor bond, we developed the tension gauge tether (TGT) approach in which the ligand is immobilized to a surface through a rupturable tether before receptor engagement. TGT serves as an autonomous gauge to restrict the receptor-ligand tension. Using a range of tethers with tunable tension tolerances, we show that cells apply a universal peak tension of about 40 piconewtons (pN) to single integrin-ligand bonds during initial adhesion. We find that less than 12 pN is required to activate Notch receptors. TGT can also provide a defined molecular mechanical cue to regulate cellular functions.

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PMID:
23704575
PMCID:
PMC3710701
DOI:
10.1126/science.1231041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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