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We show that the nuclear architecture of rod photoreceptor cells differs fundamentally in nocturnal and diurnal mammals. The rods of diurnal retinas possess the conventional architecture found in nearly all eukaryotic cells, with most heterochromatin situated at the nuclear periphery and euchromatin residing toward the nuclear interior. The rods of(More)
The relationship between the mechanical properties of cells and their molecular architecture has been the focus of extensive research for decades. The cytoskeleton, an internal polymer network, in particular determines a cell's mechanical strength and morphology. This cytoskeleton evolves during the normal differentiation of cells, is involved in many(More)
Although biological cells are mostly transparent, they are phase objects that differ in shape and refractive index. Any image that is projected through layers of randomly oriented cells will normally be distorted by refraction, reflection, and scattering. Counterintuitively, the retina of the vertebrate eye is inverted with respect to its optical function(More)
As they enter mitosis, animal cells undergo profound actin-dependent changes in shape to become round. Here we identify the Cdk1 substrate, Ect2, as a central regulator of mitotic rounding, thus uncovering a link between the cell-cycle machinery that drives mitotic entry and its accompanying actin remodeling. Ect2 is a RhoGEF that plays a well-established(More)
One hundred fifty years ago glial cells were discovered as a second, non-neuronal, cell type in the central nervous system. To ascribe a function to these new, enigmatic cells, it was suggested that they either glue the neurons together (the Greek word "gammalambdaiotaalpha" means "glue") or provide a robust scaffold for them ("support cells"). Although(More)
When a dielectric object is placed between two opposed, nonfocused laser beams, the total force acting on the object is zero but the surface forces are additive, thus leading to a stretching of the object along the axis of the beams. Using this principle, we have constructed a device, called an optical stretcher, that can be used to measure the viscoelastic(More)
Biological cells are well known to respond to a multitude of chemical signals. In the nervous system, chemical signaling has been shown to be crucially involved in development, normal functioning, and disorders of neurons and glial cells. However, there are an increasing number of studies showing that these cells also respond to mechanical cues. Here, we(More)
Cells are able to detect and respond to mechanical cues from their environment. Previous studies have investigated this mechanosensitivity on various cell types, including neural cells such as astrocytes. In this study, we have carefully optimized polyacrylamide gels, commonly used as compliant growth substrates, considering their homogeneity in surface(More)
A step stress deforming suspended cells causes a passive relaxation, due to a transiently cross-linked isotropic actin cortex underlying the cellular membrane. The fluid-to-solid transition occurs at a relaxation time coinciding with unbinding times of actin cross-linking proteins. Elastic contributions from slowly relaxing entangled filaments are(More)
The mechanical properties of tissues are increasingly recognized as important cues for cell physiology and pathology. Nevertheless, there is a sparsity of quantitative, high-resolution data on mechanical properties of specific tissues. This is especially true for the central nervous system (CNS), which poses particular difficulties in terms of preparation(More)