Kymographic Imaging of the Elastic Modulus of Epithelial Cells during the Onset of Migration

Esra Roan, Kristina R. Wilhelm, Christopher M. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Epithelial cell migration during wound repair involves a complex interplay of intracellular processes that enable motility while preserving contact among the cells. Recent evidence suggests that fluctuations of the intracellular biophysical state of cells generate traction forces at the basal side of the cells that are necessary for the cells to migrate. However, less is known about the biophysical and structural changes throughout the cells that accompany these fluctuations. Here, we utilized, to our knowledge, a novel kymographic nanoindentation method to obtain spatiotemporal measurements of the elastic moduli of living cells during migration after wounding. At the onset of migration, the elastic modulus increased near the migration front. In addition, the intensity of fluctuations in the elastic modulus changed at the migration front, and these changes were dependent upon f-actin, one of the major components of the cytoskeleton. These results demonstrate the unique biophysical changes that occur at the onset of migration as cells transition from a stationary to a migratory state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2051-2057
Number of pages7
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 17 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Biophysical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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