Cytoskeletal mechanics in adherent human airway smooth muscle cells: Probe specificity and scaling of protein-protein dynamics

Marina Puig-De-Morales, Emil Millet, Ben Fabry, Daniel Navajas, Ning Wang, James P. Butler, Jeffrey J. Fredberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We probed elastic and loss moduli in the adherent human airway smooth muscle cell through a variety of receptor systems, each serving as a different molecular window on cytoskeletal dynamics. Coated magnetic microbeads were attached to the cell surface via coating-receptor binding. A panel of bead coatings was investigated: a peptide containing the sequence RGD, vitronectin, urokinase, activating antibody against β1-integrin, nonactivating antibody against β1-integrin, blocking antibody against β1-integrin, antibody against β1- integrin, and acetylated low-density lipoprotein. An oscillatory mechanical torque was applied to the bead, and resulting lateral displacements were measured at baseline, after actin disruption by cytochalasin D, or after contractile activation by histamine. As expected, mechanical moduli depended strongly on bead type and bead coating, differing at the extremes by as much as two orders of magnitude. In every case, however, elastic and loss moduli increased with frequency f as a weak power law, fx-1. Moreover, with few exceptions, data could be scaled such that elastic and frictional responses depended solely on the power law exponent x. Taken together, these data suggest that power law behavior represents a generic feature of underlying protein-protein dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C643-C654
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number3 56-3
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Magnetic twisting cytometry
  • Scale free
  • Viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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