Real-time imaging of cellular forces using optical interference
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Important dynamic processes in mechanobiology remain elusive due to a lack of tools to image the small cellular forces at play with sufficient speed and throughput. Here, we introduce a fast, interference-based force imaging method that uses the illumination of an elastic deformable microcavity with two rapidly alternating wavelengths to map forces. We show real-time acquisition and processing of data, obtain images of mechanical activity while scanning across a cell culture, and investigate sub-second fluctuations of the piconewton forces exerted by macrophage podosomes. We also demonstrate force imaging of beating neonatal cardiomyocytes at 100 fps which reveals mechanical aspects of spontaneous oscillatory contraction waves in between the main contraction cycles. These examples illustrate the wider potential of our technique for monitoring cellular forces with high throughput and excellent temporal resolution.
Meek , A T , Kronenberg , N M , Morton , A , Liehm , P , Murawski , J , Dalaka , E , Booth , J H , Powis , S J & Gather , M C 2021 , ' Real-time imaging of cellular forces using optical interference ' , Nature Communications , vol. 12 , 3552 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23734-4
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