Effects of Membrane Composition and Cytoskeletal Proteins on Membrane Mechanics

  • Nima Khatibzadeh
  • Brenda Farrell
  • William E. Brownell
  • Bahman Anvari
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


We pull plasma membrane nanotubes (tethers) from living human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells using optical tweezers. Time-resolved force profiling provides us information on membrane tether formation force and energy, and membrane tether equilibrium force. We modulate the membrane composition by modifying its cholesterol content using Cyclodextrins, and correlate the mechanical properties to the cholesterol content. To discern the effects of cytoskelatal proteins, we perform the experiments using HEK cells with intact and disrupted F-actin. Our data suggest the significance of membrane composition, specifically membrane cholesterol content, and cytoskeletal proteins, specifically F-actin on membrane mechanical properties as well as membrane-cytoskeleton adhesion.


Cell Cholesterol Energy F-actin Optical tweezers 



We acknowledge our funding agencies: NSF-BES-0522862, NIH-2R01-DC02775 and support provided by Bourns College of Engineering and the Bioengineering Center at University of California, Riverside.


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Copyright information

© The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nima Khatibzadeh
    • 1
  • Brenda Farrell
    • 2
  • William E. Brownell
    • 2
  • Bahman Anvari
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of California-RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Baylor College of Medicine, Department of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck SurgeryHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of California-RiversideRiversideUSA

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