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Cam EFLS A. J. Kabla

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Biomechanics


Mechanics of epithelial layers

In collaboration with the group of Guillaume Charras (LCN-UCL, London), we developed a system for tensile testing of freely suspended cultured monolayers that enables the examination of their mechanical behavior at multi-, uni-, and subcellular scales. Using this system, we provide measurements of monolayer elasticity and show that this is two orders of magnitude larger than the elasticity of their isolated cellular components. Monolayers could withstand more than a doubling in length before failing through rupture of intercellular junctions. Measurement of stress at fracture enabled a first estimation of the average force needed to separate cells within truly mature monolayers, approximately ninefold larger than measured in pairs of isolated cells. As in single cells, monolayer mechanical properties were strongly dependent on the integrity of the actin cytoskeleton, myosin, and intercellular adhesions interfacing adjacent cells. High magnification imaging revealed that keratin filaments became progressively stretched during extension, suggesting they participate in monolayer mechanics. This multiscale study of monolayer response to deformation enabled by our device provides the first quantitative investigation of the link between monolayer biology and mechanics.

References:
Characterizing the mechanics of cultured cell monolayers
Andrew R. Harris, Loic Peter, Julien Bellis, Buzz Baum, Alexandre J. Kabla, and Guillaume T. Charras
PNAS 109:16449-16454, 2012


Structure of insect smooth adhesive pads

Collaboration with the group of Walter Federle (Zoology, Cambridge UK).

References:
In vivo dynamics of the internal fibrous structure in smooth adhesive pads of insects
J.-H. Dirks, MingHe Li, A.J. Kabla and W. Federle
Acta Biomaterialia 8:2730-2736 (2012)
Optical in vivo measurement of fibre orientation in insect cuticle
J.-H. Dirks, A.J. Kabla and W. Federle
Annual Meeting Bioengineering in Ireland, Galway, 2011.