Control of gene expression in engineered mammalian cells with a programmable shear-stress inducer.

Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Tobias StrittmatterMartin Fussenegger


In humans, cellular mechanoperception serves as the basis of touch sensation and proprioception, contributes to the proper programming of cell fate during embryonic development, and plays a pivotal role in the development of mechanosensitive tissues. Molecular mechanoreceptors can respond to their environment by mediating transient adjustments of ion homeostasis, which subsequently trigger calcium-dependent alteration of gene expression via specific signaling pathways such as the nuclear factor of the activated T-cells pathway. Although, mechanoreceptors are potential drug targets for various diseases, current techniques to study mechanically gated processes are often based on custom-tailored microfluidic systems, which require special setups or have limited throughput. Here, we present a platform to characterize shear-stress-triggered, calcium-mediated gene expression, which employs a programmable, 96-well-format, shear-stress induction device to examine the effects of imposing various mechanical loads on mammalian adherent cell lines. The presented method is suitable for high-throughput experiments and provides a large tunable parameter space to optimize conditions for different cell types. Our findings indicate that the devi...Continue Reading


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