Biology Inspired Physics at Mesoscales

Team Publications

Year of publication 2005

Alexandre Saez, Axel Buguin, Pascal Silberzan, Benoît Ladoux (2005 Oct 7)

Is the mechanical activity of epithelial cells controlled by deformations or forces?

Biophysical journal : L52-4 Learn more

The traction forces developed by cells depend strongly on the substrate rigidity. In this letter, we characterize quantitatively this effect on MDCK epithelial cells by using a microfabricated force sensor consisting in a high-density array of soft pillars whose stiffness can be tailored by changing their height and radius to obtain a rigidity range from 2 nN/microm up to 130 nN/microm. We find that the forces exerted by the cells are proportional to the spring constant of the pillars meaning that, on average, the cells deform the pillars by the same amount whatever their rigidity. The relevant parameter may thus be a deformation rather than a force. These dynamic observations are correlated with the reinforcement of focal adhesions that increases with the substrate rigidity.

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Olivia du Roure, Alexandre Saez, Axel Buguin, Robert H Austin, Philippe Chavrier, Pascal Silberzan, Pascal Siberzan, Benoit Ladoux (2005 Feb 1)

Force mapping in epithelial cell migration.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America : 2390-5 Learn more

We measure dynamic traction forces exerted by epithelial cells on a substrate. The force sensor is a high-density array of elastomeric microfabricated pillars that support the cells. Traction forces induced by cell migration are deduced from the measurement of the bending of these pillars and are correlated with actin localization by fluorescence microscopy. We use a multiple-particle tracking method to estimate the mechanical activity of cells in real time with a high-spatial resolution (down to 2 microm) imposed by the periodicity of the post array. For these experiments, we use differentiated Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells. Our data provide definite information on mechanical forces exerted by a cellular assembly. The maximum intensity of the forces is localized on the edge of the epithelia. Hepatocyte growth factor promotes cell motility and induces strong scattering activity of MDCK cells. Thus, we compare forces generated by MDCK cells in subconfluent epithelia versus isolated cells after hepatocyte growth factor treatment. Maximal-traction stresses at the edge of a monolayer correspond to higher values than those measured for a single cell and may be due to a collective behavior.

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Year of publication 2004

X Noblin, A Buguin, F Brochard-Wyart (2004 Aug 17)

Vibrated sessile drops: transition between pinned and mobile contact line oscillations.

The European physical journal. E, Soft matter : 395-404 Learn more

We study the effects of vertical vibrations on non-wetting large water sessile drops flattened by gravity. The solid substrate is characterized by a finite contact angle hysteresis (10-15 degrees). By varying the frequency and the amplitude of the vertical displacement, we observe two types of oscillations. At low amplitude, the contact line remains pinned and the drop presents eigen modes at different resonance frequencies. At higher amplitude, the contact line moves: it remains circular but its radius oscillates at the excitation frequency. The transition between these two regimes arises when the variations of contact angle exceed the contact angle hysteresis. We interpret different features of these oscillations, such as the decrease of the resonance frequencies at larger vibration amplitudes. The hysteresis acts as “solid” friction on the contour oscillations, and gives rise to a stick-slip regime at intermediate amplitude.

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