High-speed broadband monitoring of cell viscoelasticity in real time shows myosin-dependent oscillations

Bo Yan, Juan Ren, Xi Zheng, Yue Liu, Qingze Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Study of the dynamic evolutions of cell viscoelasticity is important as during cell activities such as cell metastasis and invasion, the rheological behaviors of the cells also change dynamically, reflecting the biophysical and biochemical connections between the outer cortex and the intracellular structures. Although the time variations of the static modulus of cells have been investigated, few studies have been reported on the dynamic variations of the frequency-dependent viscoelasticity of cells. Measuring and monitoring such dynamic evolutions of cells at nanoscale can be challenging as the measurement needs to meet two objectives inherently contradictory to each other—the measurement must be broadband (to cover a large frequency spectrum) but also rapid (to capture the time-elapsed changes). In this study, we exploited a recently developed control-based nanomechanical protocol of atomic force microscope to monitor in real time the dynamic evolutions of the viscoelasticity of live human prostate cancer cells (PC-3 cells) and study its dependence on myosin activities. We found that the viscoelasticity of PC-3 cells, followed the power law, and oscillated at a period of about 200 s. Both the amplitude and the frequency of the oscillation strongly depended on the intracellular calcium and blebbistatin-sensitive motor proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1857-1868
Number of pages12
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Broadband nanomechanical measurement
  • Dynamic oscillation of cell viscoelasticity
  • Iterative learning control
  • Rheological properties of cell

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