Mechanotransduction is the study of how cells respond to forces and other stresses in their natural environment. Mechanical forces in the extracellular realm are transduced to signal pathways in cells that play a critical role in cell structure and function. Cells can change orientation and undergo cytoskeleton rearrangement in response to the external stimuli. Additionally, mechanical stretching has been shown to activate signaling events for protein translation initiation and elongation1, alter gene and protein expression, and influence calcium influx2 through stretch-activated channels. However, in many cases, the mechanisms on how cells respond to these stimuli often remain a mystery to researchers.

Why is mechanotransduction important?

Mechanotransduction has an important role in many physiological functions in cell biology. Furthermore, cultured cells behave differently on the static benchtop or incubator than they do in their typical dynamic physiological condition. Thus. physiological stimulation devices have been created over a wide range of experimental conditions to elucidate the underlying mechanisms on how cells respond as well as obtain a more realistic understanding of cell response to the introduction of small molecules.

Cell Stretch Devices

Cell stretching systems are devices that have been created with the ability to apply stretch on cultured cells in a controlled manner, including cyclic strain. Cells adhere to a flexible chamber made of a silicone elastomer. Cells can be stretched at a programmed stretch frequency and ratio inside an incubator for hours or days of stretch, or mounted directly to a microscope for imaging, depending on the apparatus. These devices have led to the expansion of research in the field of mechanotransduction.

Strex as a leader

Strex continually develops cell stretch devices and other physiological stimulation systems. We’re working on developing tools based on the ongoing needs of the researchers.

1. Nakai N, Kawano F, Oke Y, Nomura S, Ohira T, Fujita R, Ohira Y. Mechanical stretch activates signaling events for protein translation initiation and elongation in C2C12 myoblasts. Mol Cells. 2010 Dec;30(6):513-8. doi: 10.1007/s10059-010-0147-3. Epub 2010 Oct 14. PMID: 20957453.

2. Protamine augments stretch induced calcium increase in vascular endothelium. Murase K, Naruse K, Kimura A, Okumura K, Hayakawa T, Sokabe M. British Journal of Pharmacology Volume 134, Issue 7, pages 1403–1410, December 2001