Cells and tissues can undergo a variety of biological and structural changes in response to mechanical forces. Only a few existing techniques are available for quantification of structural changes at high resolution in response to forces applied along different directions. 3D-magnetic twisting cytometry (3D-MTC) is a technique for applying local mechanical stresses to living cells. Here we describe a protocol for interfacing 3D-MTCTC with confocal fluorescence microscopy. In 3D-MTC, ferromagnetic beads are bound to the cell surface via surface receptors, followed by their magnetization in any desired direction. A magnetic twisting field in a different direction is then applied to generate rotational shear stresses in any desired direction. This protocol describes how to combine magnetic-field-induced mechanical stimulation with confocal fluorescence microscopy and provides an optional extension for super-resolution imaging using stimulated emission depletion (STED) nanoscopy. This technology allows for rapid real-time acquisition of a living cell’s mechanical responses to forces via specific receptors and for quantifying structural and biochemical changes in the same cell using confocal fluorescence microscopy or STED. The integrated 3D-MTC-microscopy platform takes ~20 d to construct, and the experimental procedures require ~4 d when carried out by a life sciences graduate student.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)