A Direct Force Probe for Measuring Mechanical Integration Between the Nucleus and the Cytoskeleton. Academic Article uri icon


  • The mechanical properties of the nucleus determine its response to mechanical forces generated in cells. Because the nucleus is molecularly continuous with the cytoskeleton, methods are needed to probe its mechanical behavior in adherent cells. Here, we discuss the direct force probe (DFP) as a tool to apply force directly to the nucleus in a living adherent cell. We attach a narrow micropipette to the nuclear surface with suction. The micropipette is translated away from the nucleus, which causes the nucleus to deform and translate. When the restoring force is equal to the suction force, the nucleus detaches and elastically relaxes. Because the suction pressure is precisely known, the force on the nuclear surface is known. This method has revealed that nano-scale forces are sufficient to deform and translate the nucleus in adherent cells, and identified cytoskeletal elements that enable the nucleus to resist forces. The DFP can be used to dissect the contributions of cellular and nuclear components to nuclear mechanical properties in living cells.

published proceedings

  • J Vis Exp

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Q., Tamashunas, A. C., & Lele, T. P.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Qiao||Tamashunas, Andrew C||Lele, Tanmay P

publication date

  • July 2018