Dr Majid Malboubi, Department of Engineering, Oxford University

Pressure propagation in living cells
When Oct 20, 2014
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where LR8, IEB Building, Engineering Science
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01865-283302
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Pressure equilibration within the cytoplasm of living cells has been the focus of much interest over the past 10 years. Indeed, such an understanding is key to investigating the biophysical mechanisms that give rise to cellular protrusions, cell migration, as well as understanding how cells may sense applied mechanical stresses and transduce them into biochemical signals. At a tissue level, the rate of pressure propagation may affect the mechanisms through which cells coordinate their action to generate tissue-scale deformation during morphogenesis. To date, experimental work on the topic has yielded contradictory results. Some experiments have taken advantage of blebs – protrusions whose generation is thought to depend on intracellular hydrostatic pressure due to myosin contractility- to examine pressure propagation. Recent experiments showed that the cytoplasm behaved as a poroelastic material and yielded estimates for diffusion of intracellular water. Despite this, how hydrostatic pressure equilibrates within living cells remains poorly understood partly because the experimental setups employed could not be used to manipulate intracellular pressure. We utilise whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology and atomic force microscopy to investigate pressure propagation in living cells. We show that pressure propagates fast in living cells but stresses equilibrate more slowly.