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Cell volume regulation in response to deformations

Abstract : The field of biomechanics significantly progressed in the last two decades. The importance of the feedback between biochemical signaling and physical properties was revealed in many studies. Cells within tissues constantly generate and experience mechanical forces. Biochemical perturbations inside the cells as well as alterations in the mechanical environment can shift the tiny balance of normal physiological state and lead to pathologies, e.g. cancer. Although the mechanical properties of individual cells can alter when they are within the tissues, the understanding of single cell mechanics is still important. Differentiation, immune cell migration, and cancer invasion strongly depend on the mechanical properties of individual cells. Mechanical deformations can lead to a change in cell surface area and volume. We are particularly interested in single mammalian cell volume regulation in the context of deformations of different timescales. For the moment, volume regulation in this context was out from the research interest, probably due to the difficulties of accurate measurements, and cell volume often considered as a constant parameter. We developed a method for cell volume measurements based on a fluorescent exclusion that allowed us to perform precise volume measurements of individual live cells. In the present study, we mainly focused on cell volume regulation while dynamic spreading on a substrate (timescale – minutes). We demonstrated that there are different regimes for volume regulation while spreading: cells decrease, increase or do not change volume, and a type of the regime depends on the state of the actomyosin cortex and spreading speed. We obtained that faster-spreading cells tend to lose more volume. Our hypothesis is that during fast Arp2/3-driven lamellipodia extension actin pull on the membrane that generates tension and activation of ion transport and regulatory volume loss. Inhibition of actin polymerization or Arp2/3-dependent actin branching decreases spreading speed and volume loss. Next, we showed that inhibition of contractility increases spreading speed and volume loss. However, inhibition of Arp2/3 complex in cells with low contractility leads to fast spreading without volume loss. Our explanation is that inhibition of Arp2/3 induces cell blebbing and even fast deformation does not lead to volume loss as a cell can relax tension by membrane unfolding. We also showed that volume regulation in response to fast mechanical compression (timescale – milliseconds) independent of adhesion also depends on the actomyosin cortex state. Control cells lose up to 30% of volume under confinement, as the cell membrane is attached to the cortex and cannot be unfolded in response to the tension increase. Disruption of actin cortex leads to membrane detachment and prevents volume loss under confinement. Additionally, we showed that cell volume response to the osmotic shock (timescale – seconds) is more complex than it used to be known in the literature. For instance, our data indicate that at the level of individual cells initial volume response to the change of external osmolarity is not a uniform passive process. Using osmotic shock technique, we also confirmed that cells have a large excess of membrane folded in reservoirs. Taken together, our data show that cell volume and surface area are coupled through surface tension homeostasis and as deformations induce surface tension increase, they lead to change volume and surface area.
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Larisa Venkova. Cell volume regulation in response to deformations. Biophysics. Université Paris-Saclay, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019SACLS396⟩. ⟨tel-02446596⟩

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