Squeezing and Detachment of Living Cells
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The interaction of living cells with their environment is linked to their adhesive and elastic properties. Even if the mechanics of simple lipid membranes is fairly well understood, the analysis of single cell experiments remains challenging in part because of the mechanosensory response of cells to their environment. To study the mechanical properties of living cells we have developed a tool that borrows from micropipette aspiration techniques, atomic force microscopy, and the classical Johnson-Kendall-Roberts test. We show results from a study of the adhesion properties of living cells, as well as the elastic response and relaxation. We present models that are applied throughout the different stages of an experiment, which indicate that the contribution of the different components of the cell are active at various stages of compression, retraction, and detachment. Finally, we present a model that attempts to elucidate the surprising logarithmic relaxation observed when the cell is subjected to a given deformation.
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