Characterizing intracellular mechanics via optical tweezers-based microrheology


Vos BE, Muenker TM, Betz T


Current Opinion in Cell Biology


Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2024 Jun 1;88:102374.


Intracellular organization is a highly regulated homeostatic state maintained to ensure eukaryotic cells’ correct and efficient functioning. Thanks to decades of research, vast knowledge of the proteins involved in intracellular transport and organization has been acquired. However, how these influence and potentially regulate the intracellular mechanical properties of the cell is largely unknown. There is a deep knowledge gap between the understanding of cortical mechanics, which is accessible by a series of experimental tools, and the intracellular situation that has been largely neglected due to the difficulty of performing intracellular mechanics measurements. Recently, tools required for such quantitative and localized analysis of intracellular mechanics have been introduced. Here, we review how these approaches and the resulting viscoelastic models lead the way to a full mechanical description of the cytoplasm, which is instrumental for a quantitative characterization of the intracellular life of cells.


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