Adhesive cells perceive the mechanical properties of the substrates to which they adhere, adjusting their cellular mechanical forces according to their biological characteristics. This mechanical interaction subsequently affects the growth, locomotion, and differentiation of the cell. However, little is known about the detailed mechanism that underlies this interaction between adherent cells and substrates because dynamically measuring mechanical phenomena is difficult. Here, we utilize microelectromechamical systems force sensors that can measure cellular traction forces with high temporal resolution (∼2.5 μs) over long periods (∼3 h). We found that the cellular dynamics reflected physical phenomena with time scales from milliseconds to hours, which contradicts the idea that cellular motion is slow. A single focal adhesion (FA) generates an average force of 7 nN, which disappears in ms via the action of trypsin-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. The force-changing rate obtained from our measurements suggests that the time required for an FA to decompose was nearly proportional to the force acting on the FA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas