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Electrodeformation-Based Biomechanical Chip for Quantifying Global Viscoelasticity of Cancer Cells Regulated by Cell Cycle

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posted on 2018-06-13, 00:00 authored by Yao Teng, Kui Zhu, Chunyang Xiong, Jianyong Huang
Mechanical phenotypes of cells are found to hold vital clues to reveal cellular functions and behaviors, which not only has great physiological significance but also is crucial for disease diagnosis. To this end, we developed a set of electrodeformation-based biomechanical microchip assays to quantify mechanical phenotypes on the single-cell level. By investigating the spatiotemporal dynamics of cancer cells driven by dielectrophoresis forces, we captured the key global viscoelastic indexes including cellular elasticity, viscosity, and transition time that was defined as the ratio of the transient viscosity and elasticity, simultaneously, and thus explored their intrinsic correlation with cell cycle progression. Our results showed that both global elasticity and viscosity have a significant periodic variation with cell cycle progression, but the transition time remained unchanged in the process, indicating that it might be an intrinsic property of cancer cells that is independent of the cell cycle and the type of cell in the experiments. Further, we investigated the molecular mechanism regulating cellular viscoelastic phenotypes on the biomechanical chips through intracellular cytoskeletal perturbation assays. These findings, together with the electrodeformation-based microchip technique, not only reveal the relation between mechanical phenotypes of cancer cells and cell cycle progression but also provide a platform for implementing multi-index mechanical phenotype assays associated with cancer cell cycles in the clinic.