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Optoregulated force application to cellular receptors using molecular motors

  • Progress in our understanding of mechanotransduction events requires noninvasive methods for the manipulation of forces at molecular scale in physiological environments. Inspired by cellular mechanisms for force application (i.e. motor proteins pulling on cytoskeletal fibers), we present a unique molecular machine that can apply forces at cell-matrix and cell-cell junctions using light as an energy source. The key actuator is a light-driven rotatory molecular motor linked to polymer chains, which is intercalated between a membrane receptor and an engineered biointerface. The light-driven actuation of the molecular motor is converted in mechanical twisting of the entangled polymer chains, which will in turn effectively “pull” on engaged cell membrane receptors (e.g., integrins, T cell receptors) within the illuminated area. Applied forces have physiologically-relevant magnitude and occur at time scales within the relevant ranges for mechanotransduction at cell-friendly exposure conditions, as demonstrated in force-dependent focal adhesion maturation and T cell activation experiments. Our results reveal the potential of nanomotors for the manipulation of living cells at the molecular scale and demonstrate a functionality which at the moment cannot be achieved by other technologies for force application.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Yijun Zheng, Mitchell K. L. Han, Renping ZhaoORCiD, Johanna BlassORCiD, Jingnan Zhang, Dennis W. Zhou, Jean-Rémy Colard-IttéORCiD, Damien Dattler, Arzu ColakORCiD, Markus HothORCiD, Andrés J. García, Bin QuORCiD, Roland BennewitzORCiD, Nicolas GiusepponeORCiD, Aránzazu del Campo BécaresORCiD
Parent Title (English):Nature Communications
First Page:3580
Year of first Publication:2021
Release Date:2022/08/10
Tag:Molecular machines and motors; Nanoscale biophysics
Impact:17.694 (2021)
Funding Information:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB1027SPP1027); National Institutes of Health (R01 EB024322)
Groups:Dynamische Biomaterialien
Interaktive Oberflächen
DDC classes:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
Open Access:Open Access
Signature:INM 2021/066
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International