High extensibility of stress fibers revealed by in vitro micromanipulation with fluorescence imaging

Tsubasa S. Matsui, Masaaki Sato, Shinji Deguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Stress fibers (SFs), subcellular bundles of actin and myosin filaments, are physically connected at their ends to cell adhesions. The intracellular force transmitted via SFs plays an essential role in cell adhesion regulation and downstream signaling. However, biophysical properties intrinsic to individual SFs remain poorly understood partly because SFs are surrounded by other cytoplasmic components that restrict the deformation of the embedded materials. To characterize their inherent properties independent of other structural components, we isolated SFs from vascular smooth muscle cells and mechanically stretched them by in vitro manipulation while visualizing strain with fluorescent quantum dots attached along their length. SFs were elongated along their entire length, with the length being approximately 4-fold of the stress-free length. This surprisingly high extensibility was beyond that explained by the tandem connection of actin filaments and myosin II bipolar filaments present in SFs, thus suggesting the involvement of other structural components in their passive biophysical properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-448
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May 10


  • Cell biophysics
  • Intracellular force transmission
  • Smooth muscle cells
  • Stress fibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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