Thursday, October 30, 2014

Direct Measurement of the Cortical Tension during the Growth of Membrane Blebs

Julia Peukes, Timo Betz

Mechanics is at the heart of many cellular processes and its importance has received considerable attention during the last two decades. In particular, the tension of cell membranes, and more specifically of the cell cortex, is a key parameter that determines the mechanical behavior of the cell periphery. However, the measurement of tension remains challenging due to its dynamic nature. Here we show that a noninvasive interferometric technique can reveal time-resolved effective tension measurements by a high-accuracy determination of edge fluctuations in expanding cell blebs of filamin-deficient melanoma cells. The introduced technique shows that the bleb tension is ∼10–100 pN/μm and increases during bleb growth. Our results directly confirm that the subsequent stop of bleb growth is induced by an increase of measured tension, possibly mediated by the repolymerized actin cytoskeleton.


Optical manipulation of biological particles using LP21 mode in fiber

Shijie Chen, He Huang, Hongmei Zou, Qing Li, Jian Fu, Feng Lin and X Wu

We demonstrate the optical manipulation of biological particles using a low-order LP21 fiber mode. The focused four-lobed LP21 mode distribution was theoretically and experimentally found to be effective in optical tweezer applications, including selective cellular pick-up, pairing, grouping or separation, as well as rotation of cell dimers and clusters. Our proposed theoretical model estimates both the translational dragging force and rotational torque in good accordance with experimental data. With a simple all-fiber configuration, and low peak irradiation to target bioparticles, the proposed LP21 'optical chuck' system has great application potential in biological test systems.


Radiation forces on Rayleigh particles using a focused anomalous vortex beam under paraxial approximation

Dongjie Zhang, Yuanjie Yang

The radiation forces of focused anomalous vortex beams acting upon a Rayleigh dielectric sphere are studied theoretically and numerically, based on the Rayleigh scattering theory, within the framework of paraxial approximation. It is shown that a focused anomalous vortex beam with a suitable mode order and topological charge can be used to trap and manipulate a dielectric sphere whose refractive index is smaller or bigger than the ambient one at the focal point. The influences of the topological charges and the beam orders on the radiation force are also discussed. Furthermore, the stability conditions for effective trapping the Rayleigh particles are analyzed.


Localized Opto-Mechanical Control of Protein Adsorption onto Carbon Nanotubes

Dakota O'Dell, Xavier Serey, Pilgyu Kang & David Erickson

Chemical reactions can be described by an energy diagram along a reaction coordinate in which an activation barrier limits the rate at which reactants can be transformed into products. This reaction impedance can be overcome by reducing the magnitude of the barrier through the use of catalysis, increasing the thermal energy of the system, or through macroscopic mechanical processes. Here, we demonstrate direct molecular-scale control of a reaction through the precise application of opto-mechanical work. The method uses optical gradient forces generated in the evanescent field surrounding hybrid photonic-plasmonic structures to drive an otherwise unlikely adsorption reaction between proteins and carbon nanotubes. The adsorption of immunoglobulins on carbon nanotubes is used as a model reaction and investigated with an extended DLVO theory. The technique is also used to force a Förster resonance energy transfer between fluorophores on mismatched immunoglobulin proteins and is expected to lead to novel forms of chemical synthesis.


A long-range polarization-controlled optical tractor beam

Vladlen Shvedov, Arthur R. Davoyan, Cyril Hnatovsky, Nader Engheta & Wieslaw Krolikowski

The laser beam has become an indispensable tool for the controllable manipulation and transport of microscopic objects in biology, physical chemistry and condensed matter physics. In particular, ‘tractor’ laser beams can draw matter towards a laser source and perform, for instance, all-optical remote sampling. Recent advances in lightwave technology have already led to small-scale experimental demonstrations of tractor beams1, 2, 3, 4. However, the realization of long-range tractor beams has not gone beyond the realm of theoretical investigations5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Here, we demonstrate the stable transfer of gold-coated hollow glass spheres against the power flow of a single inhomogeneously polarized laser beam over tens of centimetres. Additionally, by varying the polarization state of the beam we can stop the spheres or reverse the direction of their motion at will.


Long-term influence of fluid inertia on the diffusion of a Brownian particle

Giuseppe Pesce, Giorgio Volpe, Giovanni Volpe, and Antonio Sasso

We experimentally measure the effects of fluid inertia on the diffusion of a Brownian particle at very long time scales. In previous experiments, the use of standard optical tweezers introduced a cutoff in the free diffusion of the particle, which limited the measurement of these effects to times comparable with the relaxation time of the fluid inertia, i.e., a few milliseconds. Here, by using blinking optical tweezers, we detect these inertial effects on time scales several orders longer up to a few seconds. The measured mean square displacement of a freely diffusing Brownian particle in a liquid shows a deviation from the Einstein-Smoluchowsky theory that diverges with time. These results are consistent with a generalized theory that takes into account not only the particle inertia but also the inertia of the surrounding fluid.


Sister kinetochores are mechanically fused during meiosis I in yeast

Krishna K. Sarangapani, Eris Duro, Yi Deng, Flavia de Lima Alves, Qiaozhen Ye, Kwaku N. Opoku, Steven Ceto, Juri Rappsilber, Kevin D. Corbett, Sue Biggins, Adèle L. Marston, Charles L. Asbury

Production of healthy gametes requires a reductional meiosis I division in which replicated sister chromatids comigrate, rather than separate as in mitosis or meiosis II. Fusion of sister kinetochores during meiosis I may underlie sister chromatid comigration in diverse organisms, but direct evidence for such fusion has been lacking. We used laser trapping and quantitative fluorescence microscopy to study native kinetochore particles isolated from yeast. Meiosis I kinetochores formed stronger attachments and carried more microtubule-binding elements than kinetochores isolated from cells in mitosis or meiosis II. The meiosis I–specific monopolin complex was both necessary and sufficient to drive these modifications. Thus, kinetochore fusion directs sister chromatid comigration, a conserved feature of meiosis that is fundamental to Mendelian inheritance.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Direct measurement of cell protrusion force utilizing a robot-aided cell manipulation system with optical tweezers for cell migration control

Xue Gou, Hao Yang, Tarek M Fahmy, Yong Wang, Dong Sun

Cell migration refers to the directional cell movement in response to a chemoattractant gradient, a key process that occurs in a wide variety of biological phenomena. Cell protrusion force is generated by the actin polymerization of a cell, which drives the cell to move toward the stimulus as induced by the chemoattractant gradient. This paper presents a new methodology for the direct measurement of cell protrusion force utilizing a robot-aided optical tweezer system. The functionalized beads that are robotically trapped and placed near the cell serve as both cell migration stimulators and protrusion force probes. The force generated by the actin polymerization of the cell propels the bead to move away from the trapping center when the cell comes in contact with the bead. Such a deviation can be determined and used to calculate the trapping force, which is equal to the protrusion force at a balanced position. With the quantitative measurement of the protrusion, we find that the protrusion force of a live cell in response to a chemoattractant within the range of hundreds of piconewtons. We further probe the protrusion force distribution at the cell leading edge and find that the highest protrusion force appears at the cell migration direction. These measurements can help us characterize the mechanism of cell migration and lay a solid foundation for further proactive control of cell movement.


Highly cooperative stress relaxation in two-dimensional soft colloidal crystals

Berend van der Meer, Weikai Qi, Remco G. Fokkink, Jasper van der Gucht, Marjolein Dijkstra, and Joris Sprakel

Stress relaxation in crystalline solids is mediated by the formation and diffusion of defects. Although it is well established how externally generated stresses relax, through the proliferation and motion of dislocations in the lattice, it remains relatively unknown how crystals cope with internal stresses. We investigate, both experimentally and in simulations, how highly localized stresses relax in 2D soft colloidal crystals. When a single particle is actively excited, by means of optical tweezing, a rich variety of highly collective stress relaxation mechanisms results. These relaxation processes manifest in the form of open strings of cooperatively moving particles through the motion of dissociated vacancy-interstitial pairs, and closed loops of mobile particles, which either result from cooperative rotations in transiently generated circular grain boundaries or through the closure of an open string by annihilation of a vacancy-interstitial pair. Surprisingly, we find that the same collective events occur in crystals that are excited by thermal fluctuations alone; a large thermal agitation inside the crystal lattice can trigger the irreversible displacements of hundreds of particles. Our results illustrate how local stresses can induce large-scale cooperative dynamics in 2D soft colloidal crystals and shed light on the stabilization mechanisms in ultrasoft crystals.


Two properties of twisted-light absorption

Andrei Afanasev, Carl E. Carlson, and Asmita Mukherjee

We discuss two features of twisted-light absorption both by hydrogen-like atoms and by microparticles. First, we extend the treatment of atomic photoexcitation by twisted photons to include atomic recoil, derive generalized quantum selection rules, and consider phenomena of forbidden atomic transitions. In particular, we demonstrate that whatever part of the twisted photon’s total helicity does not go into exciting the atomic state goes into making the atom as a whole revolve about the photon’s symmetry axis. Second, using the same electromagnetic potential for the twisted light beams, we analyze the radiation pressure from these beams on micro-sized particles and verify that while the Poynting vector can in some circumstances point back toward the source, a complete analysis nonetheless gives a repulsive radiation pressure.