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Published January 22, 2022 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Cell wall and cytoskeletal contributions in single cell biomechanics of Nicotiana tabacum


Studies on the mechanics of plant cells usually focus on understanding the effects of turgor pressure and properties of the cell wall (CW). While the functional roles of the underlying cytoskeleton have been studied, the extent to which it contributes to the mechanical properties of cells is not elucidated. Here, we study the contributions of the CW, microtubules (MTs) and actin filaments (AFs), in the mechanical properties of Nicotiana tabacum cells. We use a multiscale biomechanical assay comprised of atomic force microscopy and micro-indentation in solutions that (i) remove MTs and AFs and (ii) alter osmotic pressures in the cells. To compare measurements obtained by the two mechanical tests, we develop two generative statistical models to describe the cell's behaviour using one or both datasets. Our results illustrate that MTs and AFs contribute significantly to cell stiffness and dissipated energy, while confirming the dominant role of turgor pressure.

Additional Information

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press in association with The John Innes Centre. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The authors thank Dr. Wai Pang Chan for obtaining confocal microscopy images, Dr. Takato Imaizumi, Dr. Josep Vilarrasa-Blasi and Dr. Luca Bonanomi for the helpful discussions. This work was supported by the University of Washington (E.R.); and the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech (C.D.). Authorship contributions: E.R., L.G. and C.D. conceived and designed the study. E.R., L.G., R.M., Q.L. and G.S. conducted data gathering. E.R. and R.H. maintained the cell lines. L.G. performed data analyses and statistical analyses. E.R. and L.G. wrote the article and all authors edited it. No conflicts of interest declared.

Attached Files

Published - cell-wall-and-cytoskeletal-contributions-in-single-cell-biomechanics-of-nicotiana-tabacum.pdf

Supplemental Material - S2632882821000151sup0001.docx


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Additional details

August 22, 2023
December 21, 2023