Martin Stewart

The Mechanics of Mitotic Cell Rounding

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Kurzfassung in Englisch

During mitosis, adherent animal cells undergo a drastic shape change, from essentially flat to round, in a process known as mitotic cell rounding (MCR). The aim of this thesis was to critically examine the physical and biological basis of MCR.
The experimental part of this thesis employed a combined optical microscope-atomic force microscope (AFM) setup in conjunction with flat tipless cantilevers to analyze cell mechanics, shape and volume. To this end, two AFM assays were developed: the constant force assay (CFA), which applies constant force to cells and measures the resultant height, and the constant height assay (CHA), which confines cell height and measures the resultant force. These assays were deployed to analyze the shape and mechanical properties of single cells trans-mitosis. The CFA results showed that cells progressing through mitosis could increase their height against forces as high as 50 nN, and that higher forces can delay mitosis in HeLa cells. The CHA results showed that mitotic cells confined to ~50% of their normal height can generate forces around 50-100 nN without disturbing mitotic progression. Such forces represent intracellular pressures of at least 200 Pascals and cell surface tensions of around 10 nN/µm. Using the CHA to compare mitotic cell rounding with induced cell rounding, it was observed that the intracellular pressure of mitotic cells is at least 3-fold higher than rounded interphase cells. To investigate the molecular basis of the mechanical changes inherent in mitotic cell rounding, inhibitors and toxins were used to pharmacologically dissect the role of candidate cellular processes. These results implicated the actomyosin cortex and osmolyte transporters, the most prominent of which is the Na+/H+ exchanger, in the maintenance of mechanical properties and intracellular hydrostatic pressure. Observations on blebbing cells under the cantilever supported the idea that the actomyosin cortex is required to sustain hydrostatic pressure and direct this pressure into cell shape changes. To gain further insight into the relationship between actomyosin activity and intracellular pressure, dynamic perturbation experiments were conducted. To this end, the CHA was used to evaluate the pressure and volume of mitotic cells before, during and after dynamic perturbations that included tonic shocks, influx of specific inhibitors, and exposure to pore-forming toxins. When osmotic pressure gradients were depleted, pressure and volume decreased. When the actomyosin cytoskeleton was abolished, cell volume increased while rounding pressure decreased. Conversely, stimulation of actomyosin cortex contraction triggered an increase in rounding pressure and a decrease in volume. Taken together, the dynamic perturbation results demonstrated that the actomyosin cortex contracts against an opposing intracellular pressure and that this relationship sets the surface tension, pressure and volume of the cell.
The discussion section of this thesis provides a comprehensive overview of the physical basis of MCR by amalgamating the experimental results of this thesis with the literature. Additionally, the biochemal signaling pathways and proteins that drive MCR are collated and discussed. An exhaustive and unprecedented synthesis of the literature on cell rounding (approx. 750 papers as pubmed search hits on “cell rounding”, April 2012) reveals that the spread-to-round transition can be thought of in terms of a surface tension versus adhesion paradigm, and that cell rounding can be physically classified into four main modes, of which one is an MCR-like category characterized by increased actomyosin cortex tension and diminution of focal adhesions. The biochemical pathways and signaling patterns that correspond with these four rounding modes are catalogued and expounded upon in the context of the relevant physiology. This analysis reveals cell rounding as a pertinent topic that can be leveraged to yield insight into core principles of cell biophysics and tissue organization. It furthermore highlights MCR as a model problem to understand the adhesion versus cell surface tension paradigm in cells and its fundamentality to cell shape, mechanics and physiology.

weitere Metadaten

Schlagwörter
(Deutsch)
mitotische Zellabrundung, Zellabrundung, Mitose, Rasterkraftmikroskopie, AFM, Zell-Biophysik, Zellform, Zellphysiologie, Zell-Mechanik, Zellvolumen, intrazellulärer Druck, Actomyosin, Runden Kraft, Zelle Oberflächenspannung, Cortex Spannung, Zelladhäsion
Schlagwörter
(Englisch)
mitotic cell rounding, cell rounding, mitosis, AFM, cell biophysics, cell shape, cell physiology, cell mechanics, cell volume, intracellular pressure, actomyosin, rounding force, cell surface tension, cortex tension, cell adhesion
DDC Klassifikation570
RVK KlassifikationWE 2100
Institution(en) 
HochschuleTechnische Universität Dresden
FakultätFakultät Mathematik und Naturwissenschaften
BetreuerProf. Dr. Daniel J. Müller
GutachterProf. Dr. Tony A. Hyman
Prof. Dr. Daniel J. Müller
DokumententypDissertation
SpracheEnglisch
Tag d. Einreichung (bei der Fakultät)14.05.2012
Tag d. Verteidigung / Kolloquiums / Prüfung29.06.2012
Veröffentlichungsdatum (online)11.07.2012
persistente URNurn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa-90006

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