The characterization of both metastable and fully committed embryonic stem cells (ESC) - pluripotent cells that are able to differentiate into almost all cell types in the body - is highly elusive. Chalut and co-authors probed the mechanical properties of ESCs in the naive (N), transition (T) and primed (P) states with an atomic force microscope by indenting and compressing the surface of single cells. They found that on compression the cytoplasm of all ESCs in the various states expanded in cross-section, as expected, but that the nuclei of ESC cells in the T state (T-ESC) shrank, instead. Irrespective of the underlying mechanism, the finding of nuclear auxeticity for ESCs in the metastable T state represents a significant step towards the understanding of the nucleus as a material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-542
Number of pages3
JournalNature Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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