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Tension Sensing Nanoparticles for Mechano-Imaging at the Living/Nonliving Interface

Studying chemomechanical coupling at interfaces is important for fields ranging from lubrication and tribology to microfluidics and cell biology. Several polymeric macro- and microscopic systems and cantilevers have been developed to image forces at interfaces, but few materials are amenable for molecular tension sensing. To address this issue, we have developed a gold nanoparticle sensor for molecular tension-based fluorescence microscopy. As a proof of concept, we imaged the tension exerted by integrin receptors at the interface between living cells and a substrate with high spatial (<1 μm) resolution, at 100 ms acquisition times and with molecular specificity. We report integrin tension values ranging from 1 to 15 pN and a mean of ∼1 pN within focal adhesions. Through the use of a conventional fluorescence microscope, this method demonstrates a force sensitivity that is 3 orders of magnitude greater than is achievable by traction force microscopy or polydimethylsiloxane micropost arrays,(1) which are t...

Authors:   Yang Liu; Kevin Yehl; Yoshie Narui; Khalid Salaita
Journal:   Journal of the American Chemical Society
Year:   2013
DOI:   10.1021/ja401494e
Publication date:   26-Mar-2013
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