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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Screening cell mechanotype by parallel microfiltration.

  • Author(s): Qi, Dongping
  • Kaur Gill, Navjot
  • Santiskulvong, Chintda
  • Sifuentes, Joshua
  • Dorigo, Oliver
  • Rao, Jianyu
  • Taylor-Harding, Barbie
  • Ruprecht Wiedemeyer, W
  • Rowat, Amy C
  • et al.

Published Web Location

Cell mechanical phenotype or 'mechanotype' is emerging as a valuable label-free biomarker. For example, marked changes in the viscoelastic characteristics of cells occur during malignant transformation and cancer progression. Here we describe a simple and scalable technique to measure cell mechanotype: this parallel microfiltration assay enables multiple samples to be simultaneously measured by driving cell suspensions through porous membranes. To validate the method, we compare the filtration of untransformed and HRas(V12)-transformed murine ovary cells and find significantly increased deformability of the transformed cells. Inducing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human ovarian cancer cells by overexpression of key transcription factors (Snail, Slug, Zeb1) or by acquiring drug resistance produces a similar increase in deformability. Mechanistically, we show that EMT-mediated changes in epithelial (loss of E-Cadherin) and mesenchymal markers (vimentin induction) correlate with altered mechanotype. Our results demonstrate a method to screen cell mechanotype that has potential for broader clinical application.

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