Adherent cells can sense their physical environment (forces, rigidity, shape) and react to external mechanical stimuli. The translation of a mechanical signal into a biochemical signal is called mechanotransduction. The biochemical interactions are now well described showing very complex signaling networks. However, the coordination in space and time with the mechanical signal is not yet clear and rarely addressed. To better understand this process we aim to apply defined forces to single cells and measure their biochemical response.
We designed our experiment to have the dynamical control and measurement of both mechanical and biochemical signals. On the one hand, we are developing active substrates based on magnetic micropillars embedded in a thin layer of soft material. On the other hand, we intend to read the biochemical response with FRET-based biosensors. Thanks to an alternating excitation scheme, it is possible to measure quantitatively and in real-time the FRET signal. We now aim at combining both mechanical stimulation and biochemical readout to screen quantitatively the mechanotransduction dictionary.
The trainee will work together with a PhD student and a postdoctoral fellow, the whole project being a collaboration with biologists from the Institut Albert Bonniot and physicists from the Institut Néel.
This internship requires experimental skills and a particular interest for interdisciplinary work. A follow-up PhD project would be to test back the signal transduction by activating signalling nodes via opto-genetics and measuring the mechanical cell response.
KEYWORDS fluorescence live cell imaging, FRET, magnetic force, signal processing
COLLABORATIONS O. Destaing (I. Albert Bonniot), N. Dempsey (I. Néel), Grenoble
SUPERVISOR Aurélie Dupont (Aurelie.Dupont@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr)