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Nat Methods. 2019 Mar;16(3):263-269. doi: 10.1038/s41592-019-0326-x. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

Noninvasive monitoring of single-cell mechanics by acoustic scattering.

Author information

1
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
2
Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
3
MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London, London, UK.
4
Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
5
Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
6
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. srm@mit.edu.
7
Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. srm@mit.edu.
8
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA. srm@mit.edu.

Abstract

The monitoring of mechanics in a single cell throughout the cell cycle has been hampered by the invasiveness of mechanical measurements. Here we quantify mechanical properties via acoustic scattering of waves from a cell inside a fluid-filled vibrating cantilever with a temporal resolution of < 1 min. Through simulations, experiments with hydrogels and the use of chemically perturbed cells, we show that our readout, the size-normalized acoustic scattering (SNACS), measures stiffness. To demonstrate the noninvasiveness of SNACS over successive cell cycles, we used measurements that resulted in deformations of < 15 nm. The cells maintained constant SNACS throughout interphase but showed dynamic changes during mitosis. Our work provides a basis for understanding how growing cells maintain mechanical integrity, and demonstrates that acoustic scattering can be used to noninvasively probe subtle and transient dynamics.

PMID:
30742041
PMCID:
PMC6420125
DOI:
10.1038/s41592-019-0326-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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