Exploring Yeast Signaling Networks Sensing Mechano-Stress Using a Optofluidics Device

Mechanical stress is an important physiological signal that modulates diverse cellular functions such as migration, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. However, despite its fundamental importance, progress in understanding the mechanotransduction has been slow mainly due to technological limitations for specific pathway stimulation.

We have overcome this limitation by designing a microfluidic device integrated with live cell imaging that allows monitoring in situ the single cell responses of Saccharomyces cerevisiae under mechano stress conditions. Using this optofluidic platform, we are identifying and characterizing the cell surface proteins in the budding yeast that sense mechano stress. In addition, we will study how such mechanosensors translate physical stimuli into biochemical signal and dissect the downstream pathway that mediates cellular responses. 

Preliminary results indicate that application of mechano-stress slows down the doubling time, prompting us to investigate the physiological relevance of mechano-stress during cell cycle progression and cell viability. Because the cytoskeleton is important for physical support of a cell, we will also study the implications of mechano-stress on cytoskeletal organization. Results of the proposed studies are expected to broaden our understanding of mechano stress in yeast physiology and extend knowledge to mechanobiology of human diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease and cancer.

Keywords: Mechano-stress, optofluidics, quantitative single cell analysis, mechano-sensors, calcium and MAPK signaling



 Ranjan Mishra

Ranjan Mishra
ETH Zurich
Institute of Biochemistry
Otto-Stern-Weg 3
CH - 8093 Zurich

Phone: +41 44 632 12 98