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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cell Signaling Experiments Driven by Optical Manipulation

Francesco Difato, Giulietta Pinato, and Dan Cojoc
Cell signaling involves complex transduction mechanisms in which information released by nearby cells or extracellular cues are transmitted to the cell, regulating fundamental cellular activities. Understanding such mechanisms requires cell stimulation with precise control of low numbers of active molecules at high spatial and temporal resolution under physiological conditions. Optical manipulation techniques, such as optical tweezing, mechanical stress probing or nano-ablation, allow handling of probes and sub-cellular elements with nanometric and millisecond resolution. PicoNewton forces, such as those involved in cell motility or intracellular activity, can be measured with femtoNewton sensitivity while controlling the biochemical environment. Recent technical achievements in optical manipulation have new potentials, such as exploring the actions of individual molecules within living cells. Here, we review the progress in optical manipulation techniques for single-cell experiments, with a focus on force probing, cell mechanical stimulation and the local delivery of active molecules using optically manipulated micro-vectors and laser dissection.
DOI
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