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Mechanical Stimulation of Adhesion Receptors Using Light-Responsive Nanoparticle Actuators Enhances Myogenesis

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journal contribution
posted on 29.07.2020, 18:37 authored by Allison N. Ramey-Ward, Hanquan Su, Khalid Salaita
The application of cyclic strain is known to enhance myoblast differentiation and muscle growth in vitro and in vivo. However, current techniques apply strain to full tissues or cell monolayers, making it difficult to evaluate whether mechanical stimulation at the subcellular or single-cell scales would drive myoblast differentiation. Here, we report the use of optomechanical actuator (OMA) particles, comprised of a ∼0.6 μm responsive hydrogel coating a gold nanorod (100 × 20 nm) core, to mechanically stimulate the integrin receptors in myoblasts. When illuminated with near-infrared (NIR) light, OMA nanoparticles rapidly collapse, exerting mechanical forces to cell receptors bound to immobilized particles. Using a pulsed illumination pattern, we applied cyclic integrin forces to C2C12 myoblasts cultured on a monolayer of OMA particles and then measured the cellular response. We found that 20 min of OMA actuation resulted in cellular elongation in the direction of the stimulus and enhancement of nuclear YAP1 accumulation, an effector of ERK phosphorylation. Cellular response was dependent on direct conjugation of RGD peptides to the OMA particles. Repeated OMA mechanical stimulation for 5 days led to enhanced myogenesis as quantified using cell alignment, fusion, and sarcomeric myosin expression in myotubes. OMA-mediated myogenesis was sensitive to the geometry of stimulation but not to MEK1/2 inhibition. Finally, we found that OMA stimulation in regions proximal to the nucleus resulted in localization of the transcription activator YAP-1 to the nucleus, further suggesting the role of YAP1 in mechanotransduction in C2C12 cells. These findings demonstrate OMAs as a novel tool for studying the role of spatially localized forces in influencing myogenesis.