Recent developments such as multi-harmonic Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) techniques have enabled fast, quantitative mapping of nanomechanical properties of living cells. Due to their high spatiotemporal resolution, these methods provide new insights into changes of mechanical properties of subcellular structures due to disease or drug response. Here, we propose three new improvements to significantly improve the resolution, identification, and mechanical property quantification of sub-cellular and sub-nuclear structures using multi-harmonic AFM on living cells. First, microcantilever tips are streamlined using long-carbon tips to minimize long-range hydrodynamic interactions with the cell surface, to enhance the spatial resolution of nanomechanical maps and minimize hydrodynamic artifacts. Second, simultaneous Spinning Disk Confocal Microscopy (SDC) with live-cell fluorescent markers enables the unambiguous correlation between observed heterogeneities in nanomechanical maps with subcellular structures. Third, computational approaches are then used to estimate the mechanical properties of sub-nuclear structures. Results are demonstrated on living NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells, where properties of nucleoli, a deep intracellular structure, were assessed. The integrated approach opens the door to study the mechanobiology of sub-cellular structures during disease or drug response.
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 10871 to 10881
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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