Particle-tracking microrheology of living cells: Principles and applications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A multitude of cellular and subcellular processes depend critically on the mechanical deformability of the cytoplasm. We have recently introduced the method of particle-tracking microrheology, which measures the viscoelastic properties of the cytoplasm locally and with high spatiotemporal resolution. Here we establish the basic principles of particle-tracking microrheology, describing the advantages of this approach over more conventional approaches to cell mechanics. We present basic concepts of molecular mechanics and polymer physics relevant to the microrheological response of cells. Particle-tracking microrheology can probe the mechanical properties of live cells in experimentally difficult, yet more physiological, environments, including cells embedded inside a 3D matrix, adherent cells subjected to shear flows, and cells inside a developing embryo. Particle-tracking microrheology can readily reveal the lost ability of diseased cells to resist shear forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-326
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Biophysics
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Fingerprint

Molecular mechanics
Shear flow
Formability
Mechanics
Polymers
Physics
Cells
Mechanical properties
Cytoplasm
Embryonic Structures

Keywords

  • Cell mechanics
  • Elasticity
  • Emerin
  • Laminopathies
  • LINC complex
  • Nanorheology
  • Viscosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Structural Biology
  • Bioengineering

Cite this

Particle-tracking microrheology of living cells : Principles and applications. / Wirtz, Denis.

In: Annual Review of Biophysics, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2009, p. 301-326.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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