Nuclei deformation reveals pressure distributions in 3D cell clusters
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2019
Measuring pressures within complex multi-cellular environments is critical for studying mechanobiology as these forces trigger diverse biological responses, however, these studies are difficult as a deeply embedded yet well-calibrated probe is required. In this manuscript, we use endogenous cell nuclei as pressure sensors by introducing a fluorescent protein localized to the nucleus and confocal microscopy to measure the individual nuclear volumes in 3D multi-cellular aggregates. We calibrate this measurement of nuclear volume to pressure by quantifying the nuclear volume change as a function of osmotic pressure in isolated 2D culture. Using this technique, we find that in multicellular structures, the nuclear compressive mechanical stresses are on the order of MPa, increase with cell number in the cluster, and that the distribution of stresses is homogenous in spherical cell clusters, but highly asymmetric in oblong clusters. This approach may facilitate quantitative mechanical measurements in complex and extended biological structures both in vitro and in vivo.