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Prestressed cells are prone to cytoskeleton failures under localized shear strain: an experimental demonstration on muscle precursor cells

  • Streppa, Laura1, 2, 3
  • Ratti, Francesca2, 3
  • Goillot, Evelyne2, 3
  • Devin, Anne4
  • Schaeffer, Laurent2, 3
  • Arneodo, Alain1, 2, 5
  • Argoul, Françoise1, 2, 5
  • 1 CNRS, Laboratoire de Physique, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, UMR5672, Lyon, F-69007, France , Lyon (France)
  • 2 Université de Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, F-69100, France , Villeurbanne (France)
  • 3 CNRS, LBMC, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, UMR5239, Lyon, F-69007, France , Lyon (France)
  • 4 Université de Bordeaux, CNRS, IBGC, UMR5095, Bordeaux, F-33077, France , Bordeaux (France)
  • 5 Université de Bordeaux, CNRS, LOMA, UMR5798, Talence, F-33405, France , Talence (France)
Published Article
Scientific Reports
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Jun 05, 2018
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-26797-4
Springer Nature


We report on a wavelet based space-scale decomposition method for analyzing the response of living muscle precursor cells (C2C12 myoblasts and myotubes) upon sharp indentation with an AFM cantilever and quantifying their aptitude to sustain such a local shear strain. Beyond global mechanical parameters which are currently used as markers of cell contractility, we emphasize the necessity of characterizing more closely the local fluctuations of the shear relaxation modulus as they carry important clues about the mechanisms of cytoskeleton strain release. Rupture events encountered during fixed velocity shear strain are interpreted as local disruptions of the actin cytoskeleton structures, the strongest (brittle) ones being produced by the tighter and stiffer stress fibers or actin agglomerates. These local strain induced failures are important characteristics of the resilience of these cells, and their aptitude to maintain their shape via a quick recovery from local strains. This study focuses on the perinuclear region because it can be considered as a master mechanical organizing center of these muscle precursor cells. Using this wavelet-based method, we combine the global and local approaches for a comparative analysis of the mechanical parameters of normal myoblasts, myotubes and myoblasts treated with actomyosin cytoskeleton disruptive agents (ATP depletion, blebbistatin).

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