Cell Dynamics

Posted on February 24, 2011 by admin

The newly developed Fourier transform light scattering (FTLS) was applied to study dynamic light scattering in single live cells, at a temporal scale of seconds to hours. We measured the nanoscale cell membrane fluctuations with and without the active contribution from the underlying actin and proposed a model that incorporates this non-equilibrium component. We found experimentally that the spatio-temporal signals rendered by FTLS reveal interesting cytoskeleton dynamics in glial cells (the predominant cell type in the nervous system). The active contribution of actin cytoskeleton was obtained by modulating its dynamic properties via Cytochalasin-D, a drug that inhibits actin polymerization/ depolymerization. The inhibition of actin activity was confirmed by control experiments using tracking microparticles attached to the cell membrane. The physical model proposed explains the main features of the experimental results and allows quantifying the cell membrane tension without physical contact. This research was in collaboration with Prof. Martha Gillette’s group.