Cell Mechanical and Physiological Behavior in the Regime of Rapid Mechanical Compressions that Lead to Cell Volume Change

Anna Liu, Tong Yu, Katherine Young, Nicholas Stone, Srinivas Hanasoge, Tyler J Kirby, Vikram Varadarajan, Nicholas Colonna, Janet Liu, Abhishek Raj, Jan Lammerding, Alexander Alexeev, Todd Sulchek

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Cells respond to mechanical forces by deforming in accordance with viscoelastic solid behavior. Studies of microscale cell deformation observed by high speed video microscopy have elucidated a new cell behavior in which sufficiently rapid mechanical compression of cells can lead to transient cell volume loss and then recovery. This work has discovered that the resulting volume exchange between the cell interior and the surrounding fluid can be utilized for efficient, convective delivery of large macromolecules (2000 kDa) to the cell interior. However, many fundamental questions remain about this cell behavior, including the range of deformation time scales that result in cell volume loss and the physiological effects experienced by the cell. In this study, a relationship is established between cell viscoelastic properties and the inertial forces imposed on the cell that serves as a predictor of cell volume loss across human cell types. It is determined that cells maintain nuclear envelope integrity and demonstrate low protein loss after the volume exchange process. These results define a highly controlled cell volume exchange mechanism for intracellular delivery of large macromolecules that maintains cell viability and function for invaluable downstream research and clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1903857
JournalSmall GTPases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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