In spite of tremendous advances made in the comprehension of mechanotransduction, implementation of mechanobiology assays remains challenging for the broad community of cell biologists. Hydrogel substrates with tunable stiffness are essential tool in mechanobiology, allowing to investigate the effects of mechanical signals on cell behavior. A bottleneck that slows down the popularization of hydrogel formulations for mechanobiology is the assessment of their stiffness, typically requiring expensive and sophisticated methodologies in the domain of material science. Here we overcome such barriers offering the reader protocols to set-up and interpret two straightforward, low cost and high-throughput tools to measure hydrogel stiffness: static macroindentation and micropipette aspiration. We advanced on how to build up these tools and on the underlying theoretical modeling. Specifically, we validated our tools by comparing them with leading techniques used for measuring hydrogel stiffness (atomic force microscopy, uniaxial compression and rheometric analysis) with consistent results on PAA hydrogels or their modification. In so doing, we also took advantage of YAP/TAZ nuclear localization as biologically validated and sensitive readers of mechanosensing, all in all presenting a suite of biologically and theoretically proven protocols to be implemented in most biological laboratories to approach mechanobiology.

Simple yet effective methods to probe hydrogel stiffness for mechanobiology

Gandin A.;Murugesan Y.;Torresan V.;Ulliana L.;Citron A.;Contessotto P.;Battilana G.;Panciera T.;Nicola L.;Piccolo S.;Brusatin G.
2021

Abstract

In spite of tremendous advances made in the comprehension of mechanotransduction, implementation of mechanobiology assays remains challenging for the broad community of cell biologists. Hydrogel substrates with tunable stiffness are essential tool in mechanobiology, allowing to investigate the effects of mechanical signals on cell behavior. A bottleneck that slows down the popularization of hydrogel formulations for mechanobiology is the assessment of their stiffness, typically requiring expensive and sophisticated methodologies in the domain of material science. Here we overcome such barriers offering the reader protocols to set-up and interpret two straightforward, low cost and high-throughput tools to measure hydrogel stiffness: static macroindentation and micropipette aspiration. We advanced on how to build up these tools and on the underlying theoretical modeling. Specifically, we validated our tools by comparing them with leading techniques used for measuring hydrogel stiffness (atomic force microscopy, uniaxial compression and rheometric analysis) with consistent results on PAA hydrogels or their modification. In so doing, we also took advantage of YAP/TAZ nuclear localization as biologically validated and sensitive readers of mechanosensing, all in all presenting a suite of biologically and theoretically proven protocols to be implemented in most biological laboratories to approach mechanobiology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3438989
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