Unique Role of Vimentin Networks in Compression Stiffening of Cells and Protection of Nuclei from Compressive Stress

Katarzyna Pogoda, Fitzroy Byfield, Piotr Deptuła, Mateusz Cieśluk, Łukasz Suprewicz, Karol Skłodowski, Jordan L. Shivers, Anne Van Oosten, Katrina Cruz, Ekaterina Tarasovetc, Ekaterina L. Grishchuk, Fred C. MacKintosh, Robert Bucki, Alison E. Patteson, Paul A. Janmey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this work, we investigate whether stiffening in compression is a feature of single cells and whether the intracellular polymer networks that comprise the cytoskeleton (all of which stiffen with increasing shear strain) stiffen or soften when subjected to compressive strains. We find that individual cells, such as fibroblasts, stiffen at physiologically relevant compressive strains, but genetic ablation of vimentin diminishes this effect. Further, we show that unlike networks of purified F-actin or microtubules, which soften in compression, vimentin intermediate filament networks stiffen in both compression and extension, and we present a theoretical model to explain this response based on the flexibility of vimentin filaments and their surface charge, which resists volume changes of the network under compression. These results provide a new framework by which to understand the mechanical responses of cells and point to a central role of intermediate filaments in response to compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4725-4732
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Volume22
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 22 2022

Keywords

  • AFM
  • compression-stiffening
  • compressive stress
  • intermediate filaments
  • vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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