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Topological defects in confined populations of spindle-shaped cells
Guillaume Duclos, Christoph Erlenkämper, Jean-François Joanny & Pascal Silberzan
Nature Physics - 16 (2014) 217–223 - DOI:10.1038/nphys3876 - 2016
Most spindle-shaped cells (including smooth muscles and sarcomas) organize in vivo into well-aligned ‘nematic’ domains1, 2, 3, creating intrinsic topological defects that may be used to probe the behaviour of these active nematic systems. Active non-cellular nematics have been shown to be dominated by activity, yielding complex chaotic flows4, 5. However, the regime in which live spindle-shaped cells operate, and the importance of cell–substrate friction in particular, remains largely unexplored. Using in vitro experiments, we show that these active cellular nematics operate in a regime in which activity is effectively damped by friction, and that the interaction between defects is controlled by the system’s elastic nematic energy. Due to the activity of the cells, these defects behave as self-propelled particles and pairwise annihilate until all displacements freeze as cell crowding increases6, 7. When confined in mesoscopic circular domains, the system evolves towards two identical +1/2 disclinations facing each other. The most likely reduced positions of these defects are independent of the size of the disk, the cells’ activity or even the cell type, but are well described by equilibrium liquid crystal theory. These cell-based systems thus operate in a regime more stable than other active nematics, which may be necessary for their biological function.
Efficient laboratory evolution of computationally designed enzymes with low starting activities using fluorescence-activated droplet sorting
Obexer R, Pott M, Zeymer C, Griffiths A, Hilvert D.
Protein Eng Des Sel - 29(9) 355-66 - doi: 10.1093/protein/gzw032 - 2016
De novo biocatalysts with non-natural functionality are accessible by computational enzyme design. The catalytic activities obtained for the initial designs are usually low, but can be optimized significantly by directed evolution. Nevertheless, rate accelerations approaching the level of natural enzymes can only be achieved over many rounds of tedious and time-consuming laboratory evolution. In this work, we show that microfluidic-based screening using fluorescence-activated droplet sorting (FADS) is ideally suited for efficient optimization of designed enzymes with low starting activity, essentially straight out of the computer. We chose the designed retro-aldolase RA95.0, which had been previously evolved by conventional microtiter plate screening, as an example and reoptimized it using the microfluidic-based assay. Our results show that FADS is sufficiently sensitive to detect enzyme activities as low as kcat/Km = 0.5 M(-1)s(-1) The ultra-high throughput of this system makes screening of large mutant libraries possible in which clusters of up to five residues are randomized simultaneously. Thus, combinations of beneficial mutations can be identified directly, leading to large jumps in catalytic activity of up to 80-fold within a single round of evolution. By exploring several evolutionary trajectories in parallel, we identify alternative active site arrangements that exhibit comparably enhanced efficiency but opposite enantioselectivity
Hierarchy and extremes in selections from pools of randomized proteins
Boyer S, Biswas D, Kumar Soshee A, Scaramozzino N, Nizak C2, Rivoire O.
Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA - 113(13) 3482-7 - doi: 10.1073/pnas. - 2016
Variation and selection are the core principles of Darwinian evolution, but quantitatively relating the diversity of a population to its capacity to respond to selection is challenging. Here, we examine this problem at a molecular level in the context of populations of partially randomized proteins selected for binding to well-defined targets. We built several minimal protein libraries, screened them in vitro by phage display, and analyzed their response to selection by high-throughput sequencing. A statistical analysis of the results reveals two main findings. First, libraries with the same sequence diversity but built around different "frameworks" typically have vastly different responses; second, the distribution of responses of the best binders in a library follows a simple scaling law. We show how an elementary probabilistic model based on extreme value theory rationalizes the latter finding. Our results have implications for designing synthetic protein libraries, estimating the density of functional biomolecules in sequence space, characterizing diversity in natural populations, and experimentally investigating evolvability (i.e., the potential for future evolution).
Lineage Tracking for Probing Heritable Phenotypes at Single-Cell Resolution
Denis Cottinet , Florence Condamine, Nicolas Bremond, Andrew D. Griffiths, Paul B. Rainey, J. Arjan G. M. de Visser, Jean Baudry, Jérôme Bibette
Nature Biotechnology - 11(4) e0152395 - doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152395 - 2016
Determining the phenotype and genotype of single cells is central to understand microbial evolution. DNA sequencing technologies allow the detection of mutants at high resolution, but similar approaches for phenotypic analyses are still lacking. We show that a drop-based millifluidic system enables the detection of heritable phenotypic changes in evolving bacterial populations. At time intervals, cells were sampled and individually compartmentalized in 100 nL drops. Growth through 15 generations was monitored using a fluorescent protein reporter. Amplification of heritable changes–via growth–over multiple generations yields phenotypically distinct clusters reflecting variation relevant for evolution. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we follow the evolution of Escherichia coli populations during 30 days of starvation. Phenotypic diversity was observed to rapidly increase upon starvation with the emergence of heritable phenotypes. Mutations corresponding to each phenotypic class were identified by DNA sequencing. This scalable lineage-tracking technology opens the door to large-scale phenotyping methods with special utility for microbiology and microbial population biology.
Massive radius-dependent flow slippage in carbon nanotubes
Eleonora Secchi, Sophie Marbach, Antoine Niguès, Derek Stein, Alessandro Siria & Lydéric Bocquet
Nature - 537 210–213 - DOI: 10.1038/nature19315 - 2016
Measurements and simulations have found that water moves through carbon nanotubes at exceptionally high rates owing to nearly frictionless interfaces1, 2, 3, 4. These observations have stimulated interest in nanotube-based membranes for applications including desalination, nano-filtration and energy harvesting5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, yet the exact mechanisms of water transport inside the nanotubes and at the water–carbon interface continue to be debated11, 12 because existing theories do not provide a satisfactory explanation for the limited number of experimental results available so far13. This lack of experimental results arises because, even though controlled and systematic studies have explored transport through individual nanotubes7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, none has met the considerable technical challenge of unambiguously measuring the permeability of a single nanotube11. Here we show that the pressure-driven flow rate through individual nanotubes can be determined with unprecedented sensitivity and without dyes from the hydrodynamics of water jets as they emerge from single nanotubes into a surrounding fluid. Our measurements reveal unexpectedly large and radius-dependent surface slippage in carbon nanotubes, and no slippage in boron nitride nanotubes that are crystallographically similar to carbon nanotubes, but electronically different. This pronounced contrast between the two systems must originate from subtle differences in the atomic-scale details of their solid–liquid interfaces, illustrating that nanofluidics is the frontier at which the continuum picture of fluid mechanics meets the atomic nature of matter.
A new microfluidic approach for the one-step capture, amplification and label-free quantification of bacteria from raw samples
Iago Pereiro, Amel Bendali, Sanae Tabnaoui, Lucile Alexandre, Jana Srbova, Zuzana Bilkova, Shane Deegan, Lokesh Joshi, Jean-Louis Viovy, Laurent Malaquin, Bruno Dupuy and Stéphanie Descroix
Chem. Sci. - 8(2) 1329-1336 - DOI: 10.1039/C6SC03880H - 2016
A microfluidic method to specifically capture and detect infectious bacteria based on immunorecognition and proliferative power is presented. It involves a microscale fluidized bed in which magnetic and drag forces are balanced to retain antibody-functionalized superparamagnetic beads in a chamber during sample perfusion. Captured cells are then cultivated in situ by infusing nutritionally-rich medium. The system was validated by the direct one-step detection of Salmonella Typhimurium in undiluted unskimmed milk, without pre-treatment. The growth of bacteria induces an expansion of the fluidized bed, mainly due to the volume occupied by the newly formed bacteria. This expansion can be observed with the naked eye, providing simple low-cost detection of only a few bacteria and in a few hours. The time to expansion can also be measured with a low-cost camera, allowing quantitative detection down to 4 cfu (colony forming unit), with a dynamic range of 100 to 107 cfu ml−1 in 2 to 8 hours, depending on the initial concentration. This mode of operation is an equivalent of quantitative PCR, with which it shares a high dynamic range and outstanding sensitivity and specificity, operating at the live cell rather than DNA level. Specificity was demonstrated by controls performed in the presence of a 500× excess of non-pathogenic Lactococcus lactis. The system's versatility was demonstrated by its successful application to the detection and quantitation of Escherichia coli O157:H15 and Enterobacter cloacae. This new technology allows fast, low-cost, portable and automated bacteria detection for various applications in food, environment, security and clinics.
Microfluidic model of the platelet-generating organ: beyond bone marrow biomimetics
Antoine Blin, Anne Le Goff, Aurélie Magniez, Sonia Poirault-Chassac, Bruno Teste, Géraldine Sicot, Kim Anh Nguyen, Feriel S. Hamdi, Mathilde Reyssat & Dominique Baruch
Nature - Scientific Reports 6 21700 - DOI: 10.1038/srep21700 - 2016
We present a new, rapid method for producing blood platelets in vitro from cultured megakaryocytes based on a microfluidic device. This device consists in a wide array of VWF-coated micropillars. Such pillars act as anchors on megakaryocytes, allowing them to remain trapped in the device and subjected to hydrodynamic shear. The combined effect of anchoring and shear induces the elongation of megakaryocytes and finally their rupture into platelets and proplatelets. This process was observed with megakaryocytes from different origins and found to be robust. This original bioreactor design allows to process megakaryocytes at high throughput (millions per hour). Since platelets are produced in such a large amount, their extensive biological characterisation is possible and shows that platelets produced in this bioreactor are functional.
Innate control of actin nucleation determines two distinct migration behaviours in dendritic cells.
Vargas P, Maiuri P, Bretou M, Sáez PJ, Pierobon P, Maurin M, Chabaud M, Lankar D, Obino D, Terriac E, Raab M, Thiam H-R, Brocker T, Kitchen-Goosen SM, Alberts AS, Sunareni P, Xia S, Li R, Voituriez R, Piel M, Lennon-Duménil A-M
Nat. Cell Biol. - 18(1): 43-53 - DOI: 10.1016/j.jim.2015.12.005 - 2016
Dendritic cell (DC) migration in peripheral tissues serves two main functions: antigen sampling by immature DCs, and chemokine-guided migration towards lymphatic vessels (LVs) on maturation. These migratory events determine the efficiency of the adaptive immune response. Their regulation by the core cell locomotion machinery has not been determined. Here, we show that the migration of immature DCs depends on two main actin pools: a RhoA-mDia1-dependent actin pool located at their rear, which facilitates forward locomotion; and a Cdc42-Arp2/3-dependent actin pool present at their front, which limits migration but promotes antigen capture. Following TLR4-MyD88-induced maturation, Arp2/3-dependent actin enrichment at the cell front is markedly reduced. Consequently, mature DCs switch to a faster and more persistent mDia1-dependent locomotion mode that facilitates chemotactic migration to LVs and lymph nodes. Thus, the differential use of actin-nucleating machineries optimizes the migration of immature and mature DCs according to their specific function.
Deterministic patterns in cell motility
Ido Lavi, Matthieu Piel, Ana-Maria Lennon-Duménil , Raphaël Voituriez and Nir S. Gov
Nature Physics - 12 1146–1152 - DOI: : 10.1038/NPHYS3836 - 2016
Cell migration paths are generally described as random walks, associated with both intrinsic and extrinsic noise. However, complex cell locomotion is not merely related to such fluctuations, but is often determined by the underlying machinery. Cell motility is driven mechanically by actin and myosin, two molecular components that generate contractile forces. Other cell functions make use of the same components and, therefore, will compete with the migratory apparatus. Here, we propose a physical model of such a competitive system, namely dendritic cells whose antigen capture function and migratory ability are coupled by myosin II. The model predicts that this coupling gives rise to a dynamic instability, whereby cells switch from persistent migration to unidirectional self-oscillation, through a Hopf bifurcation. Cells can then switch to periodic polarity reversals through a homoclinic bifurcation. These predicted dynamic regimes are characterized by robust features that we identify through in vitro trajectories of dendritic cells over long timescales and distances. We expect that competition for limited resources in other migrating cell types can lead to similar deterministic migration modes.
Perinuclear Arp2/3-driven actin polymerization enables nuclear deformation to facilitate cell migration through complex environments.
Thiam HR, Vargas P, Carpi N, Crespo CL, Raab M, Terriac E, King MC, Jacobelli J, Alberts AS, Stradal T, Lennon-Dumenil AM, Piel M.
Nat Commun - 7 10997 - doi: 10.1038/ncomms10997. - 2016
Cell migration has two opposite faces: although necessary for physiological processes such as immune responses, it can also have detrimental effects by enabling metastatic cells to invade new organs. In vivo, migration occurs in complex environments and often requires a high cellular deformability, a property limited by the cell nucleus. Here we show that dendritic cells, the sentinels of the immune system, possess a mechanism to pass through micrometric constrictions. This mechanism is based on a rapid Arp2/3-dependent actin nucleation around the nucleus that disrupts the nuclear lamina, the main structure limiting nuclear deformability. The cells' requirement for Arp2/3 to pass through constrictions can be relieved when nuclear stiffness is decreased by suppressing lamin A/C expression. We propose a new role for Arp2/3 in three-dimensional cell migration, allowing fast-moving cells such as leukocytes to rapidly and efficiently migrate through narrow gaps, a process probably important for their function.

346 publications.