Editors' ChoiceCell Reprogramming

Cell mechanics indicate cell fate

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Science  22 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6370, pp. 1552-1553
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6370.1552-c

Gene expression changes are accompanied by biophysical phenotypes during differentiation or reprogramming, as has now been shown by measurements of cell stiffness or relative compliancy. Using real-time deformability cytometry (a microfluidic-based method that deforms cells by stress) and atomic force microscopy-enabled nanoindentation, Urbanska et al. characterized mouse fetal neural progenitor cells (fNPCs) that are induced to become pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) through the introduction of four transcription factors and subsequently differentiate toward the neural lineage. As differentiated cells are reprogrammed to a pluripotent state, they become stiffer, but in the reverse path, pluripotent cells become more compliant as they differentiate. iPSC stiffness is similar to that of embryonic stem cells. These mechanical properties may serve as biophysical markers for pluripotency.

Development 10.1242/dev.155218 (2017).

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