Jul 17, 2014

Vimentin enhances cell elastic behavior and protects against compressive stress

Biophysical Journal
Melissa G MendezP A Janmey


Vimentin intermediate filament expression is a hallmark of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions, and vimentin is involved in the maintenance of cell mechanical properties, cell motility, adhesion, and other signaling pathways. A common feature of vimentin-expressing cells is their routine exposure to mechanical stress. Intermediate filaments are unique among cytoskeletal polymers in resisting large deformations in vitro, yet vimentin's mechanical role in the cell is not clearly understood. We use atomic force microscopy to compare the viscoelastic properties of normal and vimentin-null (vim(-/-)) mouse embryo fibroblasts (mEFs) on substrates of different stiffnesses, spread to different areas, and subjected to different compression patterns. In minimally perturbed mEF, vimentin contributes little to the elastic modulus at any indentation depth in cells spread to average areas. On a hard substrate however, the elastic moduli of maximally spread mEFs are greater than those of vim(-/-)mEF. Comparison of the plastic deformation resulting from controlled compression of the cell cortex shows that vimentin's enhancement of elastic behavior increases with substrate stiffness. The elastic moduli of normal mEFs are more stable over time...Continue Reading

  • References44
  • Citations32


Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
VIM gene
Specimen Type - Fibroblasts
Cell Motility
Entire Embryo
Microscopy, Atomic Force

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