Single Cell Force Platforms to Link Force-ECM Coupling in Pathophysiology

dc.contributor.authorPadhi, Abinashen
dc.contributor.committeechairNain, Amrinderen
dc.contributor.committeemembervon Spakovsky, Michael R.en
dc.contributor.committeememberLi, Lingen
dc.contributor.committeememberKer, Dai Fei Elmeren
dc.contributor.committeememberKapania, Rakesh K.en
dc.contributor.departmentMechanical Engineeringen
dc.description.abstractMigratory cells in vivo move within a predominantly fibrous microenvironment through the action of forces. These dynamic interactions facilitate mechanosensing, critical to fundamental biological processes in pathophysiology. Naturally, the field of mechanobiology has evolved over the past several decades to decipher the role of forces in mechanotransduction using a variety of force-measurement platforms. A central challenge that has yet to be overcome in the field is connecting forces with the interplay between cell shape and ever-changing environment. Here, through design of specific fibrous architectures, a mechanobiological understanding of force feed-forward loop accounting for shape shifting of the environment and cells is developed. Using the non-electrospinning Spinneret Tunable Engineered Parameters (STEP) technique, two complementary force measurement platforms of varying physical attributes are developed to investigate how the force feed-forward loop impacts cell fate. Nanonet Force Microscopy (NFM) comprised of aligned nanonets is designed to study anisotropic cell shapes, while Crosshatch Force Microscopy (CM) comprised of orthogonal arrangement of fibers is designed to study cell bodies of broad shapes. The combination of shapes achieved on these networks recapitulate mesenchymal shapes observed in vivo, which are used to describe cell behaviors not reported before. The new findings include (i) discovery of a new biological structure, termed 3D-perpendicular lateral protrusions (3D-PLPs) which is proposed to be the missing biophysical link in the remodeling of the ECM and perpetuation of desmoplasia. Using NFM, seven discreet steps in formation of force-exerting PLPs anywhere along the cell body is documented, which allow cells to spread laterally and increase in contractility. Using a variety of fiber networks, it is shown that aligned fibers are necessary for PLP formation and suitable environments for myofibroblast activation, and (ii) a force dipole that links matrix deformability with cell contractility. Aided by machine learning, CFM automates the process of fiber feature recognition to measure forces as cells change shapes during migration and differentiate to osteogenic and adipogenic lineages. The force platforms are applied to investigate (i) the bioenergetic contributors fueling cellular migration and a surprisingly overwhelming impact of glycolytic energetic pathway over the traditionally thought mitochondrial energy production is found. However, neither pathway has substantial impact over the cellular force production, and (ii) quantitate the migratory and contractile response of enucleated cytoplasmic fragments naturally shed by cells. A peculiar contractility driven oscillatory migratory phenotype is found, capable of lasting over tens of hours, and absent in intact cells. Overall, new high spatiotemporal capabilities are developed in mechanobiology to quantitate the force-feed forward loops between cell shape and ECM in pathophysiology.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralPathophysiology is the study of abnormal changes in the regular body functions of an organism that are causes or consequences of disease onset. Research in this area is mainly focused on identifying the different factors that cause and propagate the disease states such as cancer. Central to many of these processes are events such as cell migration and remodeling of their surrounding environment. The native microenvironment surrounding cells is highly complex and is composed of many classes of macromolecules, with fibrous components being one of the most important. How cells interact with these environments through application of forces and how this further regulates cellular behavior is vital to advancing our understanding of many of these pathophysiological processes. Currently, there is a lack in our understanding of how this dynamic process referred to as the "force feed-forward loop", is perpetuated. This limitation in our understanding can be attributed to the lack of an in vivo mimicking platform that captures this dynamic interaction and is capable of measuring the forces. To this end, the development of two novel single cell force measurement platforms: Nanonet Force Microscopy (NFM) and Crosshatch Force Microscopy (CFM) is presented. These platforms are fiber based systems, generated with the utilization of previously established non-electrospinning technique of Spinneret based Tunable Engineered Parameters (STEP) technique. Using NFM and CFM, forces were computed in wide range of cell shapes from anisotropic to all other spread morphologies. These platforms were applied to identify a new biological structure called perpendicular lateral protrusions and shown to have potential role in the spreading of tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, the force dynamics in physiological processes such as stem cell differentiation into fat cells or bone cells is also identified. How cellular processes such as migration and force production is fueled is also investigated and found to be not heavily reliant on the commonly understood mitochondrial activity. Finally, sub-cellular components known as cell fragments, which are devoid of nucleus, are also observed to be contractile and migratory in nature, independent of parent cell body. These platforms and findings can be further utilized to advance our current knowledge of the progression of these physiological and pathological processes and serve as diagnostic tools for the early identification of disease onset. Furthermore, based on these findings, strategies can be developed for early intervention to inhibit disease progression or devise bioengineered scaffolds for applications in tissue engineering.en
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectCell Forcesen
dc.subjectNanonet Force Microscopyen
dc.subjectCrosshatch Force Microscopyen
dc.subjectAnisotropic ECMen
dc.titleSingle Cell Force Platforms to Link Force-ECM Coupling in Pathophysiologyen
dc.typeDissertationen Engineeringen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Philosophyen


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