Apr 1, 2020

Optoregulated force application to cellular receptors using molecular motors

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Cyrille RossantAranzazu del Campo


Mechanotransduction events in physiological environments are difficult to investigate, in part due to the lack of experimental tools to apply forces to mechanosensitive receptors remotely. Inspired by cellular mechanisms for force application (i.e. motor proteins pulling on cytoskeletal fibers), here we present a unique molecular machine that can apply forces at cell-matrix and cell-cell junctions using light as an energy source. The key actuator is a light-driven rotatory molecular motor linked to polymer chains, which is intercalated between a membrane receptor and an engineered biointerface. The lightdriven actuation of the molecular motor is converted in mechanical twisting of the polymer chains, which will in turn effectively pulls on engaged cell membrane receptors (integrins, cadherins) within the illuminated area. Applied forces have the adequate magnitude and occur at time scales within the relevant ranges for mechanotransduction at cell-friendly exposure conditions, as demonstrated in force-dependent focal adhesion maturation and T cell activation experiments. Our results reveal the potential of nanomotors for the manipulation of living cells at the molecular scale and demonstrate,for the first time, a functionality w...Continue Reading

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