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J. Funct. Biomater. 2012, 3(2), 398-417; doi:10.3390/jfb3020398

Altered Cell Mechanics from the Inside: Dispersed Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes Integrate with and Restructure Actin

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
2
Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
3
Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
4
Center for Bioimage Informatics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
5
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 March 2012 / Revised: 1 May 2012 / Accepted: 15 May 2012 / Published: 23 May 2012
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Abstract

With a range of desirable mechanical and optical properties, single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are a promising material for nanobiotechnologies. SWCNTs also have potential as biomaterials for modulation of cellular structures. Previously, we showed that highly purified, dispersed SWCNTs grossly alter F-actin inside cells. F-actin plays critical roles in the maintenance of cell structure, force transduction, transport and cytokinesis. Thus, quantification of SWCNT-actin interactions ranging from molecular, sub-cellular and cellular levels with both structure and function is critical for developing SWCNT-based biotechnologies. Further, this interaction can be exploited, using SWCNTs as a unique actin-altering material. Here, we utilized molecular dynamics simulations to explore the interactions of SWCNTs with actin filaments. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy confirmed that SWCNTs were located within ~5 nm of F-actin in cells but did not interact with G-actin. SWCNTs did not alter myosin II sub-cellular localization, and SWCNT treatment in cells led to significantly shorter actin filaments. Functionally, cells with internalized SWCNTs had greatly reduced cell traction force. Combined, these results demonstrate direct, specific SWCNT alteration of F-actin structures which can be exploited for SWCNT-based biotechnologies and utilized as a new method to probe fundamental actin-related cellular processes and biophysics.
Keywords: actin; cytoskeleton; carbon nanotube; myosin; FLIM; cell mechanics actin; cytoskeleton; carbon nanotube; myosin; FLIM; cell mechanics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Holt, B.D.; Shams, H.; Horst, T.A.; Basu, S.; Rape, A.D.; Wang, Y.-L.; Rohde, G.K.; Mofrad, M.R.K.; Islam, M.F.; Dahl, K.N. Altered Cell Mechanics from the Inside: Dispersed Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes Integrate with and Restructure Actin. J. Funct. Biomater. 2012, 3, 398-417.

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J. Funct. Biomater. EISSN 2079-4983 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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