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When Cells Feel the Strain

Prof. Rudolf Merkel, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Datum:  08.11.2013 um 16:30 Uhr

Ort: Kleiner Physik-Hörsaal, Fakultät für Physik

Throughout the lifetime of an organism its cells are exposed to mechanical forces and deformations. In most cases these cells show pronounced reactions, often called mechanoresponse. While the phenomenon as such has been well described, much remains to be learned about the underlying molecular mechanisms. In this talk I will describe how mechanical strain can be applied to cells and how their mechanoresponse can be quantified. To this end we use living cells adhered to soft and stretchable rubber substrates. Under such conditions substrate extension results in stretching of cytoskeletal fibers. As response to such mechanical straining we observed pronounced exchange of stress-fiber associated proteins on short time scales and a rearrangement of the entire cytoskeletal system on long time scales.