Direct observation of nanomechanical properties of chromatin in living cells

Anthony H B de Vries, Bea E Krenn, Roel van Driel, Vinod Subramaniam, Johannes S Kanger

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Precise manipulation of nanometer-sized magnetic particles using magnetic tweezers has yielded insights into the rheology of the cell cytoplasm. We present first results using this approach to study the nanomechanics of the cell nucleus. Using a custom-designed micro-magnetic-tweezers instrument, we can achieve sufficiently high magnetic forces enabling the application and measurement of controlled distortion of the internal nuclear structure on the nanometer scale. We precisely measure the elasticity and viscosity inside the nucleus of living HeLa cells. The high value of the Young's modulus (Y = 2.5 x 10(2) Pa) measured relative to the cytoplasm is explained by a large-scale model for in vivo chromatin structure using a polymer network model.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1424-7
    Number of pages4
    JournalNano Letters
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2007


    • Chromatin
    • HeLa Cells
    • Humans
    • Nanotechnology
    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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