Probing cellular mechanics with acoustic force spectroscopy

Raya Sorkin, Giulia Bergamaschi, Douwe Kamsma, Guy Brand, Elya Dekel, Yifat Ofir-Birin, Ariel Rudik, Marta Gironella, Felix Ritort, Neta Regev-Rudzki, Wouter H. Roos, Gijs J.L. Wuite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large number of studies demonstrate that cell mechanics and pathology are intimately linked. In particular, deformability of red blood cells (RBCs) is key to their function and is dramatically altered in the time course of diseases such as anemia and malaria. Due to the physiological importance of cell mechanics, many methods for cell mechanical probing have been developed. While single-cell methods provide very valuable information, they are often technically challenging and lack the high data throughput needed to distinguish differences in heterogeneous populations, while fluid-flow high-throughput methods miss the accuracy to detect subtle differences. Here we present a new method for multiplexed single-cell mechanical probing using acoustic force spectroscopy (AFS). We demonstrate that mechanical differences induced by chemical treatments of known effect can be measured and quantified. Furthermore, we explore the effect of extracellular vesicles (EVs) uptake on RBC mechanics and demonstrate that EVs uptake increases RBC deformability. Our findings demonstrate the ability of AFS to manipulate cells with high stability and precision and pave the way to further new insights into cellular mechanics and mechanobiology in health and disease, as well as potential biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2005-2011
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number16
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Probing cellular mechanics with acoustic force spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this