Cellular force regulates many types of cell mechanics and the associated physiological behaviors. Recent evidence suggested that cell motion with left-right (LR) bias may be the origin of LR asymmetry in tissue architecture. As actomyosin activity was found essential in the process, it predicts a type of cellular force that coordinates the development of LR asymmetry in tissue formation. However, due to the lack of appropriate platform, cellular force with LR bias has not yet been found. Here we report a nanowire magnetoscope that reveals a rotating force--torque--exerted by cells. Ferromagnetic nanowires were deposited and internalized by micropatterned cells. Within a uniform, horizontal magnetic field, the nanowires that initially aligned with the magnetic field were subsequently rotated due to the cellular torque. We found that the torque is LR-biased depending on cell types. While NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and human vascular endothelial cells exhibited counterclockwise torque, C2C12 myoblasts showed torque with slight clockwise bias. Moreover, an actin ring composed of transverse arcs and radial fibers was identified as a major factor determining the LR bias of cellular torque, since the disruption of actin ring by biochemical inhibitors or elongated cell shape abrogated the counterclockwise bias of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. Our finding reveals a LR-biased torque of single cells and a fundamental origin of cytoskeletal chirality. More broadly, we anticipate that our method will provide a different perspective on mechanics-related cell physiology and force transmission necessary for LR propagation in tissue formation.
Liu, Wei, Yuanye Bao, Miu Ling Lam, Ting Xu, Kai Xie, Hin Sum Man, Edward Y. Chan, Ninghao Zhu, Raymond H. W. Lam, Ting-Hsuan Chen