Controlling cellular forces with light

Updated: Jan 16

by Léo Valon

The daily life of most eukaryotic cells is critically influenced by their ability to exert forces, such as during morphogenesis or cancer cell invasion. In this video abstract, Léo Valon tells you about new tools for studying these processes, which allow scientists to control cellular contractile forces using light. The use of light to control cells through a genetically encoded mechanism is called optogenetics.

Learn more in the full paper in Nature Communications, entitled "Optogenetic control of cellular forces and mechanotransduction."

Léo is a Postdoc in Xavier Trepat's lab at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) in Barcelona, Spain.

Related Resources​​

• The first paper on the CRY2/CIBN optogenetic dimerizer, published by the group of Chandra Tucker.

Léo's paper on the spatiotemporal resolution we can reach with this optogenetic approach.

• A nice review on the future of optogenetic approaches by Jared Toettcher et al.

• Some other applications of optogenetics to control the RhoA signalling pathway: the control of cytokinetic furrows by local optogenetic RhoA activations, and the effect of contractility on tissue morphogenesis by modifying actin network in vivo.

• Videos from Léo's article showing the evolution of forces of basal actin, of focal adhesions and of YAP localization during a decrease in contractility controlled by optogenetics.

• Watch Morgan Delarue's Science Sketch, "Cells Under Pressure!", to learn more about cellular forces related to cancer cell invasion.

#optogenetics #cancer #methods #mechanobiology #cell #genetics