Many cells express a membrane-coupled external mechanical layer, the pericellular matrix (PCM), which often contains long-chain polymers. Its role and properties are not entirely known, but its functions are believed to include physical protection, mechanosensing, chemical signalling or lubrication. The viscoelastic response of the PCM, with polysaccharides as the main structural components, is therefore crucial for the understanding of its function. We have here applied microrheology, based on optically trapped micrometre-sized colloids, to the PCM of cultured PC3 prostate cancer cells. This technology allowed us to measure the extremely soft response of the PCM, with approximately 1 mm height resolution. Exogenously added aggrecan, a hyaluronan-binding proteoglycan, caused a remarkable increase in thickness of the viscoelastic layer and also triggered filopodia-like protrusions. The viscoelastic response of the PCM, however, did not change significantly.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering