Authors: Y-S Chu, S. Dufour, J.-P. Thiery, E. Perez and F. Pincet
Affilation: Laboratoire de Physique Statistique de l'ENS, France
Pages: 560 - 562
Keywords: cell adhesion, micropipette, JKR theory
Cell adhesion is involved in a number of biological processes ranging from transport to the defenses of organisms. A quantitative understanding of the adhesion of cells is not often possible owing to their complexity in contrast to soft inert matter. JKR theory is an accurate model for strong adhesion energies of soft slightly deformable material. Little is known about the validity of this theory on complex systems such as living cells. We have addressed this problem using a depletion controlled cell adhesion and measured the force necessary to separate two single cells with a micropipette technique. We show that the cytoskeleton can provide the cells with a 3-D structure that is sufficiently elastic and has sufficiently low deformability for JKR theory to be valid. When the cytoskeleton is disrupted, JKR theory is no longer applicable. This study establishes the conditions of applicability of JKF theory to living cells.