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Cell Mol Bioeng. 2018 Apr;11(2):131-142. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

Nuclear Lamin Protein C Is Linked to Lineage-Specific, Whole-Cell Mechanical Properties.

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Center for Biomedical Engineering, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.
Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.
Department of Orthopaedics, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.
School of Engineering, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.



Lamin proteins confer nuclear integrity and relay external mechanical cues that drive changes in gene expression. However, the influence these lamins have on whole-cell mechanical properties is unknown. We hypothesized that protein expression of lamins A, B1, and C would depend on the integrity of the actin cytoskeleton and correlate with cellular elasticity and viscoelasticity.


To test these hypotheses, we examined the protein expression of lamins A, B1, and C across five different cell lines with varied mechanical properties. Additionally, we treated representative "soft/stiff" cell types with cytochalasin D and LMNA siRNA to determine the effect of a more compliant whole-cell phenotype on lamin A, B1 and C protein expression.


A positive, linear correlation existed between lamin C protein expression and average cell moduli/apparent viscosity. Though moderate correlations existed between lamin A/B1 protein expression and whole-cell mechanical properties, they were statistically insignificant. Inhibition of actin polymerization, via cytochalasin D treatment, resulted in reduced cell elasticity, viscoelasticity, and lamin A and C protein expression in "stiff" MG-63 cells. In "soft" HEK-293T cells, this treatment reduced cell elasticity and viscoelasticity but did not affect lamin B1 or C protein expression. Additionally, LMNA siRNA treatment of MG-63 cells decreased whole-cell elasticity and viscoelasticity.


These findings suggest that lamin C protein expression is strongly associated with whole-cell mechanical properties and could potentially serve as a biomarker for mechanophenotype.


actin cytoskeleton; atomic force microscopy; elasticity; lamin protein expression; mechanical biomarkers; mechanophenotype; single-cell; viscoelasticity

[Available on 2019-04-01]

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