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Mechanics of membrane-cytoskeleton attachment in Paramecium

Abstract : In this paper we assess the role of the protein MKS1 (Meckel syndrome type 1) in the cortical membrane mechanics of the ciliated protist Paramecium. This protein is known to be crucial in the process of cilium formation, and we investigate its putative role in membrane-cytoskeleton attachment. Therefore, we compare cells where the gene coding for MKS1 is silenced to wild-type cells. We found that scanning electron microscopy observation of the cell surface reveals a cup-like structure in wild-type cells that is lost in silenced cells. Since this structure is based on the underlying cytoskeleton, one hypothesis to explain this observation is a disruption of membrane attachment to the cytoskeleton in the absence of MKS1 that should affect plasma membrane mechanics. We test this by probing the mechanics of wild-type and silenced cells by micropipette aspiration. Strikingly, we observe that, at the same aspiration pressure, the membrane of silenced cells is easily aspirated by the micropipette whereas that of wild-type cells enters only at a moderate velocity, an effect that suggests a detachment of the membrane from the underlying cytoskeleton in silenced cells. We quantify this detachment by measuring the deformation of the cell cortex and the rate of cell membrane entry in the micropipette. This study offers a new perspective for the characterization of membrane-cytoskeleton attachment in protists and paves the way for a better understanding of the role of membrane-cortex attachment in cilium formation.
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Clément Campillo, Julie Jerber, Cathy Fisch, Maria Simoes-Betbeder, Pascale Dupuis-Williams, et al.. Mechanics of membrane-cytoskeleton attachment in Paramecium. New Journal of Physics, Institute of Physics: Open Access Journals, 2012, 14, 125016, 9 p. ⟨10.1088/1367-2630/14/12/125016⟩. ⟨hal-00814768⟩

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