Recent technological advancements in traction force microscopy
Letter to the Editor
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Traction force microscopy (TFM) defines a family of methods for measuring the tractions and stresses generated at the surface by adhering cells. More specifically, these techniques allow the analysis of acto-myosin-mediated cell contractility transmitted to the extracellular environment at the level of integrin adhesion points, the focal adhesions (Kechagia et al. 2019). The resulting forces, typically of the order of a few nNs, are in fact not measured directly but reconstructed from the active deformation imposed by the cell to its surroundings (Roca-Cusachs et al. 2017). To render these deformations, which develop both in-plane and out-of-plane, TFM protocols adopt compliant elastic materials featuring fiducial markers, generally in the form of fluorescent landmarks. The marker’s original placement and their displacement caused by the cell activity are tracked by means of optical microscopy yielding a vectorial field as proxy of the overall deformation. Coupled to an experimental...
© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019