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A high throughput cell stretch device for investigating mechanobiology in vitro

Pratt, Stephen, Plunkett, Christopher, Kuzu, Guray, Trinh, Ton, Barbara, Joshua, Quackenbush, Doug, Huynh, Truc, Smith, Anders, Barnes, Whitney, New, Joel, Pierce, James, Walker, John, Mainquist, James, King, Frederick, Elliott, Jimmy, Hammack, Scott and Decker, Rebekah (2024) A high throughput cell stretch device for investigating mechanobiology in vitro. APL Bioengineering, 8 (2).


Mechanobiology is a rapidly advancing field, with growing evidence that mechanical signaling plays key roles in health and disease. To accelerate mechanobiology-based drug discovery, novel in vitro systems are needed that enable mechanical perturbation of cells in a format amenable to high throughput screening. Here, both a mechanical stretch device and 192-well silicone flexible linear stretch plate were designed and fabricated to meet high throughput technology needs for cell stretch-based applications. To demonstrate the utility of the stretch plate in automation and screening, cell dispensing, liquid handling, high content imaging, and high throughput sequencing platforms were employed. Using this system, an assay was developed as a biological validation and proof-of-concept readout for screening. A mechano-transcriptional stretch response was characterized using focused gene expression profiling measured by RNA-mediated oligonucleotide Annealing, Selection, and Ligation with Next-Gen sequencing (RASL-seq). Using articular chondrocytes, a gene expression signature containing stretch responsive genes relevant to cartilage homeostasis and disease was identified. The possibility for integration of other stretch sensitive cell types (e.g. cardiovascular, airway, bladder, gut, musculoskeletal), in combination with alternative phenotypic readouts (e.g. protein expression, proliferation or spatial alignment), broadens the scope of high throughput stretch and allows for wider adoption by the research community. This high throughput mechanical stress device fills an unmet need in phenotypic screening technology to support drug discovery in mechanobiology-based disease areas.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2024 00:46
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2024 00:46