Three-dimensional traction force microscopy: a new tool for quantifying cell-matrix interactions.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The interactions between biochemical processes and mechanical signaling play important roles during various cellular processes such as wound healing, embryogenesis, metastasis, and cell migration. While traditional traction force measurements have provided quantitative information about cell matrix interactions in two dimensions, recent studies have shown significant differences in the behavior and morphology of cells when placed in three-dimensional environments. Hence new quantitative experimental techniques are needed to accurately determine cell traction forces in three dimensions. Recently, two approaches both based on laser scanning confocal microscopy have emerged to address this need. This study highlights the details, implementation and advantages of such a three-dimensional imaging methodology with the capability to compute cellular traction forces dynamically during cell migration and locomotion. An application of this newly developed three-dimensional traction force microscopy (3D TFM) technique to single cell migration studies of 3T3 fibroblasts is presented to show that this methodology offers a new quantitative vantage point to investigate the three-dimensional nature of cell-ECM interactions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Franck, C; Maskarinec, SA; Tirrell, DA; Ravichandran, G

Published Date

  • March 29, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 3

Start / End Page

  • e17833 -

PubMed ID

  • 21468318

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3066163

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0017833


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States