Développement de substrats actifs et d'une méthode d'analyse de FRET quantitative pour décoder la mécanotransduction

Abstract : Living cells can react to mechanical signals such as the rigidity of the surface they adhere on, the traction or compression forces applied on them, the liquid flow at their membrane surface or the geometry of their adhesions or of their overall shape. Those signals influence cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, migration or cell death. Those processes are tightly regulated by biochemical reactions that constitute a signaling network. Mechanotransduction is the translation of the mechanical signal into the biochemical one.In order to study mechanotransduction, we have considered the use of ultrasounds to mechanically stimulate cells at relatively high temporal and spatial frequencies. Numerous setups and options have been considered in this very exploratory project. Finally, we will retain some promising leads for the continuation of this project.We have developed what we call active substrates that allows us to control both spatially and temporally the mechanical stimulation on living cells. Those active substrates consist of iron micropillars embedded in a soft elastomer and actuated by 2 electromagnets. We can control dynamically the displacement of the pillar that will deform locally and continuously the surface. This deformation will then deform in traction or in compression the living cells spread on the surface nearby. Thanks to fluorescent trackers we can perform Traction Force Microscopy and monitor the stress applied by the pillars to the cells through the PDMS surface, and we can look at the mechanical response of the cells. Moreover, those substrates are compatible with live cell fluorescence microscopy, which makes possible the observation of the cellular response at the morphological level (focal adhesions, protrusive activity, …) and most importantly at the biochemical level.Indeed, in order to study the cellular biochemical response after a mechanical stimulation, we use fluorescence microscopy to observe biosensors containing pairs of donor/acceptor fluorophores. Those biosensors allow us to monitor the activity of proteins implied in cellular signaling by computing the Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) efficiency of those biosensors. To do so, samples are alternatively excited at donor and acceptor excitation wavelengths. The fluorescence signal is then simultaneously measured in donor and acceptor emission channels. A substantial part of my thesis has been dedicated to the development of a quantitative method to analyze fluorescence images in order to measure FRET efficiencies that do not depend on experimental factors or biosensors concentration in cells. We assess different methods to compute standard correction factors that account for spectral bleed-through and direct excitation of acceptors at donor excitation wavelength. To obtain more quantitative measurements, we have developed a new method to compute 2 additional correction factors. We compare this method with the only one preexisting, and we assess the influence of image processing parameters on FRET efficiency values.
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Alexis Coullomb. Développement de substrats actifs et d'une méthode d'analyse de FRET quantitative pour décoder la mécanotransduction. Biophysique [physics.bio-ph]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAY044⟩. ⟨tel-02012587⟩

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