Cell Rounding

Watch Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich explain mitotic cell rounding in her Two Minute Talk!

Whether adhered to a slide or embedded in a tissue, when cells enter mitosis, they undergo a drastic shape change and adopt a spherical form. Mitotic cell rounding is thought to facilitate proper cell division, but until recently, little has been known about the physical forces driving this process. The Hyman lab studies cell rounding by using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). An AFM cantilever is clamped at a constant height and the resulting forces are measured as the rounding cell pushes against it (see figure below). 1-s2.0-S0968000411000697-gr11-s2.0-S0968000411000697-gr2By combining AFM and light microscopy, the resistance force, mechanical stress and volume of cells can be measured (Stewart et al 2012). This technique is now being used in the lab to investigate which genes are involved in mitotic cell rounding and why.

In conjunction with the lab of Frank Jülicher at the MPI-PKS, we also use Atomic Force Microscopy to study the biophysical and mechanical properties of rounding cells, such as internal hydrostatic pressure and surface tension (Fischer-Friedrich et al 2014). Watch Elisabeth’s “Two Minute Talk” video above to learn more!

Members of the lab working on cell rounding: Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich and Richard Wheeler

Associated Publications

  • Fischer-Friedrich E, Toyoda Y, Cattin CJ, Müller DJ, Hyman AA, Jülicher F. Rheology of the Active Cell Cortex in Mitosis. 2016. Biophys J. 111(3):589-600. [FullText]
  • Fischer-Friedrich E, Hyman AA, Jülicher F, Müller DJ, Helenius J. Quantification of surface tension and internal pressure generated by single mitotic cells. Sci Rep. 2014 Aug 29;4:6213. [FullText]
  • Stewart MP, Toyoda Y, Hyman AA, Müller DJTracking mechanics and volume of globular cells with atomic force microscopy using a constant-height clamp. Nat Protoc. 2012 Jan;7(1):143-54. [PubMed]
  • Toyoda Y, Stewart MP, Hyman AA, Müller DJ.  Atomic Force Microscopy to Study Mechanics of Living Mitotic Mammalian Cells. Jpn. J. Appl. Phys.  2011: 50 08LA01.  [Journal Abstract]
  • Stewart MP, Toyoda Y, Hyman AA, Muller DJ. Force probing cell shape changes to molecular resolution. Trends Biochem Sci. 2011 Aug;36(8):444-50. [PubMed]
  • Stewart MP, Helenius J, Toyoda Y, Ramanathan SP, Muller DJ, Hyman AA. Hydrostatic pressure and the actomyosin cortex drive mitotic cell rounding. Nature. 2011 Jan 13;469(7329):226-30. [PubMed]