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Direct Measurement of the Cortical Tension during the Growth of Membrane Blebs

Biophysical Journal
DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.07.076
  • Cell Biophysics


Abstract Mechanics is at the heart of many cellular processes and its importance has received considerable attention during the last two decades. In particular, the tension of cell membranes, and more specifically of the cell cortex, is a key parameter that determines the mechanical behavior of the cell periphery. However, the measurement of tension remains challenging due to its dynamic nature. Here we show that a noninvasive interferometric technique can reveal time-resolved effective tension measurements by a high-accuracy determination of edge fluctuations in expanding cell blebs of filamin-deficient melanoma cells. The introduced technique shows that the bleb tension is ∼10–100 pN/μm and increases during bleb growth. Our results directly confirm that the subsequent stop of bleb growth is induced by an increase of measured tension, possibly mediated by the repolymerized actin cytoskeleton.

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