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Effect of Actin Organization on the Stiffness of Living Breast Cancer Cells Revealed by Peak-Force Modulation Atomic Force Microscopy

AuthorsCalzado-Martín, Alicia CSIC; Encinar, Mario CSIC ORCID; Tamayo de Miguel, Francisco Javier CSIC ORCID; Calleja, Montserrat CSIC ORCID ; San Paulo, Álvaro CSIC ORCID
KeywordsCancer mechanics
Live cell imaging
Cell mechanics
Atomic force microscopy
Issue Date22-Feb-2016
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
CitationACS Nano 10(3): 3365-3374 (2016)
AbstractWe study the correlation between cytoskeleton organization and stiffness of three epithelial breast cancer cells lines with different degrees of malignancy: MCF-10A (healthy), MCF-7 (tumorigenic/noninvasive), and MDA-MB-231 (tumorigenic/invasive). Peak-force modulation atomic force microscopy is used for high-resolution topography and stiffness imaging of actin filaments within living cells. In healthy cells, local stiffness is maximum where filamentous actin is organized as well-aligned stress fibers, resulting in apparent Young's modulus values up to 1 order of magnitude larger than those in regions where these structures are not observed, but these organized actin fibers are barely observed in tumorigenic cells. We further investigate cytoskeleton conformation in the three cell lines by immunofluorescence confocal microscopy. The combination of both techniques determines that actin stress fibers are present at apical regions of healthy cells, while in tumorigenic cells they appear only at basal regions, where they cannot contribute to stiffness as probed by atomic force microscopy. These results substantiate that actin stress fibers provide a dominant contribution to stiffness in healthy cells, while the elasticity of tumorigenic cells appears not predominantly determined by these structures. We also discuss the effects of the high-frequency indentations inherent to peak-force atomic force microscopy for the identification of mechanical cancer biomarkers. Whereas conventional low loading rate indentations (1 Hz) result in slightly differentiated average stiffness for each cell line, in high-frequency measurements (250 Hz) healthy cells are clearly discernible from both tumorigenic cells with an enhanced stiffness ratio; however, the two cancerous cell lines produced indistinguishable results.
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Identifiersissn: 1936-086X
Appears in Collections:(IMN-CNM) Artículos

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