A micromechanical cell stretching device compatible with super-resolution microscopy and single protein tracking
. 2020-07-27; :
Cell mechano-sensing is based on biomolecule deformations and reorganizations, yet the molecular mechanisms are still unclear. Super-resolution microscopy (SRM) and single protein tracking (SPT) techniques reveal the dynamic organization of proteins at the nanoscale. In parallel, stretchable substrates are used to investigate cellular responses to mechanical forces. However, simultaneous combination of SRM/SPT and cell stretching has never been achieved. Here, we present a cell stretching device compatible with SRM and SPT, composed of an ultra-thin Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) layer. The PDMS sheet is gliding on a glycerol-lubricated glass cover-slip to ensure flatness during uniaxial stretching, generated with a 3D-printed micromechanical device by a mobile arm connected to a piezoelectric translator. This method enables to obtain super-resolved images of protein reorganization after live stretching, and to monitor single protein deformation and recruitment inside mechanosensitive structures upon stretching. This protocol is related to the publication ‘Cell stretching is amplified by active actin remodeling to deform and recruit proteins in mechanosensitive structures’, in Nature Cell Biology.