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3D mechanical characterization of single cells and small organisms using acoustic manipulation and force microscopy

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Läubli Nino F., Burri Jan T., Marquard Julian, Vogler Hannes, Mosca Gabriella, Vertti-Quintero Nadia, Shamsudhin Naveen, deMello Andrew, Grossniklaus Ueli, Ahmed Daniel, Nelson Bradley J.,
Project Mechanical Basis for the Convergent Evolution of Sensory Hairs in Animals and Plants
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Nature Communications
Volume (Issue) 12(1)
Page(s) 2583 - 2583
Title of proceedings Nature Communications
DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-22718-8

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Abstract Quantitative micromechanical characterization of single cells and multicellular tissues or organisms is of fundamental importance to the study of cellular growth, morphogenesis, and cell-cell interactions. However, due to limited manipulation capabilities at the microscale, systems used for mechanical characterizations struggle to provide complete three-dimensional coverage of individual specimens. Here, we combine an acoustically driven manipulation device with a micro-force sensor to freely rotate biological samples and quantify mechanical properties at multiple regions of interest within a specimen. The versatility of this tool is demonstrated through the analysis of single Lilium longiflorum pollen grains, in combination with numerical simulations, and individual Caenorhabditis elegan s nematodes. It reveals local variations in apparent stiffness for single specimens, providing previously inaccessible information and datasets on mechanical properties that serve as the basis for biophysical modelling and allow deeper insights into the biomechanics of these living systems.