Cell Protrusion Formation by External Force

  • Sergey V. Popov
  • Leonid B. Margolis
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 64)


A method of applying a mechanical force to the plasma membrane of cells is described. The force is generated by an alternating current (AC) electrical field (EF) of high frequency. It is applied to the plasma membrane and is directed outwards. This force was sufficient to generate morphologically normal cell protrusions in mouse embryo and 3T3 fibroblasts. Specific inhibitors of actin polymerization were not able to prevent generation of protrusions in an electrical field. Organization of the cytoskeleton inside the processes was examined using a platinum replica method. Bundles of microfilaments morphologically similar to those observed during normal physiological spreading were found in electrical field–generated protrusions. Local application of electrical field to polarized cells demonstrated that different areas of the cell surface differ in their ability to form processes under the action of membrane-applied force.


Electrical Field Application Alternate Current Actin Polymerization Normal Physiological Condition Mouse Embryo Fibroblast 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergey V. Popov
    • 1
  • Leonid B. Margolis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesColumbia UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Belozersky Laboratory of Physico-Chemical BiologyMoscowUSSR

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