mechanical information
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2021 ◽  
Buer Sen ◽  
Zhihui Xie ◽  
Sean Howard ◽  
Maya Styner ◽  
Andre j van Wijnen ◽  

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) respond to environmental forces with both cytoskeletal re-structuring and activation of protein chaperones of mechanical information, β-catenin and Yes-Associated Protein 1 (YAP1). To function, MSCs must differentiate between dynamic forces such as cyclic strains of extracellular matrix due to physical activity and static strains due to ECM stiffening. To delineate how MSCs recognize and respond differently to both force types, we compared effects of dynamic (200 cycles x 2%) and static (1 x 2% hold) strain on nuclear translocation of β-catenin and YAP1 at 3h after force application. Dynamic strain induced nuclear accumulation of β-catenin, and increased cytoskeletal actin structure and cell stiffness, but had no effect on nuclear YAP1 levels. Critically, both nuclear actin and nuclear stiffness increased along with dynamic strain-induced β-catenin transport. Augmentation of cytoskeletal structure using either static strain or lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) did not increase nuclear content of β-catenin or actin, but induced robust nuclear increase in YAP1. As actin binds β-catenin, we considered whether β-catenin, which lacks a nuclear localization signal, was dependent on actin to gain entry to the nucleus. Knockdown of cofilin-1 (Cfl1) or importin-9 (Ipo9), which co-mediate nuclear transfer of G-actin, prevented dynamic strain-mediated nuclear transfer of both β-catenin and actin. In sum, dynamic strain induction of actin re-structuring promotes nuclear transport of G-actin, concurrently supporting nuclear access of β-catenin via mechanisms utilized for actin transport. Thus, dynamic and static strain activate alternative mechanoresponses reflected by differences in the cellular distributions of actin, β-catenin and YAP1.

Toxins ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (9) ◽  
pp. 669
Katia Cosentino ◽  
Edward Hermann ◽  
Nicolai von Kügelgen ◽  
Joseph D. Unsay ◽  
Uris Ros ◽  

Equinatoxin II (EqtII) and Fragaceatoxin C (FraC) are pore-forming toxins (PFTs) from the actinoporin family that have enhanced membrane affinity in the presence of sphingomyelin (SM) and phase coexistence in the membrane. However, little is known about the effect of these proteins on the nanoscopic properties of membrane domains. Here, we used combined confocal microscopy and force mapping by atomic force microscopy to study the effect of EqtII and FraC on the organization of phase-separated phosphatidylcholine/SM/cholesterol membranes. To this aim, we developed a fast, high-throughput processing tool to correlate structural and nano-mechanical information from force mapping. We found that both proteins changed the lipid domain shape. Strikingly, they induced a reduction in the domain area and circularity, suggesting a decrease in the line tension due to a lipid phase height mismatch, which correlated with proteins binding to the domain interfaces. Moreover, force mapping suggested that the proteins affected the mechanical properties at the edge, but not in the bulk, of the domains. This effect could not be revealed by ensemble force spectroscopy measurements supporting the suitability of force mapping to study local membrane topographical and mechanical alterations by membranotropic proteins.

Secret Worlds ◽  
2021 ◽  
pp. 107-135
Martin Stevens

This chapter addresses the supreme level of refinement found in many animals for analysing tactile and pressure information. It begins by looking at the sensory organ of the star-nosed mole. The mole’s star-shaped organ is used purely for collecting tactile information. The chapter then considers the Eimer’s organs which cover every appendage that comprises the nose, some of which are used for initial prey detection, while others are for identification. Owing to the number of Eimer’s organs, their tiny size, and the way that the sensory cells respond to patterns of stimulation across parts of each individual Eimer’s organ, the mole obtains exquisite detail on texture, almost to a microscopic level. The chapter also discusses the highly refined tactile sense of spiders, looking at how they rely on vibrations transmitted through the ground, the silk web strands, or the surface waves and air for prey detection and capture. Spiders are equipped with a variety of sensors to detect mechanical information, including fine hairs sensitive to wind movement and touch, and special organs called slit sensilla around the joints of legs that measure physical forces acting on the exoskeleton. Finally, the chapter studies the nature and function of integumentary sense organs or ISOs in both crocodiles and alligators. The heavily built bodies of crocodiles and alligators belie a high sensitivity, being able to detect the slightest changes in touch and pressure.

2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (7) ◽  
pp. 1265
Marco Loche ◽  
Gianvito Scaringi ◽  
Jan Blahůt ◽  
Maria Teresa Melis ◽  
Antonio Funedda ◽  

The mechanical strength is a fundamental characteristic of rock masses that can be empirically related to a number of properties and to the likelihood of instability phenomena. Direct field acquisition of mechanical information on tall cliffs, however, is challenging, particularly in coastal and alpine environments. Here, we propose a method to evaluate the compressive strength of rock blocks by monitoring their thermal behaviour over a 24‐h period by infrared thermography. Using a drone‐mounted thermal camera and a Schmidt (rebound) hammer, we surveyed granitoid and aphanitic blocks in a coastal cliff in south‐east Sardinia, Italy. We observed a strong correlation between a simple cooling index, evaluated in the hours succeeding the temperature peak, and strength values estimated from rebound hammer test results. We also noticed different heatingcooling patterns in relation to the nature and structure of the rock blocks and to the size of thefractures. Although further validation is warranted in different morpho‐lithological settings, we believe the proposed method may prove a valid tool for the characterisation of non‐directly accessible rock faces, and may serve as a basis for the formulation, calibration, and validation of thermo‐hydro‐mechanical constitutive models.

Science ◽  
2020 ◽  
Vol 370 (6519) ◽  
pp. 961-965 ◽  
Insang You ◽  
David G. Mackanic ◽  
Naoji Matsuhisa ◽  
Jiheong Kang ◽  
Jimin Kwon ◽  

Human skin has different types of tactile receptors that can distinguish various mechanical stimuli from temperature. We present a deformable artificial multimodal ionic receptor that can differentiate thermal and mechanical information without signal interference. Two variables are derived from the analysis of the ion relaxation dynamics: the charge relaxation time as a strain-insensitive intrinsic variable to measure absolute temperature and the normalized capacitance as a temperature-insensitive extrinsic variable to measure strain. The artificial receptor with a simple electrode-electrolyte-electrode structure simultaneously detects temperature and strain by measuring the variables at only two measurement frequencies. The human skin–like multimodal receptor array, called multimodal ion-electronic skin (IEM-skin), provides real-time force directions and strain profiles in various tactile motions (shear, pinch, spread, torsion, and so on).

Tomohisa Yamamoto ◽  
Atsushi Sakuma

Abstract Tactile sensation by touching motion is one of the basic functions for human beings to recognize the characteristics and information of objects. It is known that information about touched objects is recognized through deformation of the skin, but it is difficult to physically clarify the mechanism of such sensations. In addition, there are several types of mechanoreceptors related to tactile sensation in human skin, and it is necessary to digitize the sensation in consideration of its response characteristics. The purpose of this study is to propose the product design method that recalls physical properties from mechanical information inside the skin in order to evaluate the relationship between human skin deformation and physical properties of touched objects. Humans can recognize the shape and softness of an object by pressing the skin against the surface of the object. The behavior inside the skin can be discussed by modeling the contact between human skin and rigid sphere and analyzing it mechanically by numerical simulation. Finite element method (FEM) was adopted as the numerical analysis method for this elucidation, and the three-layer laminated solid having the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous was developed as the numerical model, and mechanical information inside the skin was discussed.

2020 ◽  
Vol 117 (35) ◽  
pp. 21346-21353 ◽  
Rafael Tapia-Rojo ◽  
Álvaro Alonso-Caballero ◽  
Julio M. Fernández

Cells continually sample their mechanical environment using exquisite force sensors such as talin, whose folding status triggers mechanotransduction pathways by recruiting binding partners. Mechanical signals in biology change quickly over time and are often embedded in noise; however, the mechanics of force-sensing proteins have only been tested using simple force protocols, such as constant or ramped forces. Here, using our magnetic tape head tweezers design, we measure the folding dynamics of single talin proteins in response to external mechanical noise and cyclic force perturbations. Our experiments demonstrate that talin filters out external mechanical noise but detects periodic force signals over a finely tuned frequency range. Hence, talin operates as a mechanical band-pass filter, able to read and interpret frequency-dependent mechanical information through its folding dynamics. We describe our observations in the context of stochastic resonance, which we propose as a mechanism by which mechanosensing proteins could respond accurately to force signals in the naturally noisy biological environment.

2020 ◽  
Vol 96 (9) ◽  
pp. 713-723
Rui Zhang ◽  
Dianlei Han ◽  
Guolong Yu ◽  
Haitao Wang ◽  
Haibao Liu ◽  

Inspired by the superior fixed and traction characteristics of ostrich foot toenails, we devised, optimized and manufactured the single structure and group arrangement of a new-style bionic spike for sprint shoes to improve athletic performance. The tractive performance of the bionic spike was tested by finite element analysis and experimental verification. The optimized single structure of the bionic spike had a top slope angle of 13° and the radius of the medial groove of 7.3 mm. Compared with the conventional conic spike, the maximal and stable extrusion resistances of the single bionic spike decreased by about 25% and 40% respectively, while the maximal and stable horizontal thrusts increased by about 16% and 10%, respectively. In addition, the arrangement of the bionic spikes was also optimized. Compared with the conventional spike group, the maximal and stable extrusion resistances of the bionic spike group decreased by 11.0% and 6.2%, respectively, while the maximal and stable horizontal thrusts increased by 20.0% and 16.0%, respectively. The current results may provide useful mechanical information that can help develop a better design of athletic shoes with the potential for advanced performance.

Crystals ◽  
2020 ◽  
Vol 10 (6) ◽  
pp. 473 ◽  
Alessandro Genoni ◽  
Piero Macchi

In this review article, we report on the recent progresses in the field of quantum crystallography that has witnessed a massive increase of production coupled with a broadening of the scope in the last decade. It is shown that the early thoughts about extracting quantum mechanical information from crystallographic experiments are becoming reality, although a century after prediction. While in the past the focus was mainly on electron density and related quantities, the attention is now shifting toward determination of wavefunction from experiments, which enables an exhaustive determination of the quantum mechanical functions and properties of a system. Nonetheless, methods based on electron density modelling have evolved and are nowadays able to reconstruct tiny polarizations of core electrons, coupling charge and spin models, or determining the quantum behaviour at extreme conditions. Far from being routine, these experimental and computational results should be regarded with special attention by scientists for the wealth of information on a system that they actually contain.

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