Analysis of monocyte cell tractions in 2.5D reveals mesoscale mechanics of podosomes during substrate-indenting cell protrusion

J Cell Sci. 2022 May 15;135(10):jcs259042. doi: 10.1242/jcs.259042. Epub 2022 May 27.


Podosomes are mechanosensitive protrusive actin structures that are prominent in myeloid cells, and they have been linked to vascular extravasation. Recent studies have suggested that podosomes are hierarchically organized and have coordinated dynamics on the cell scale, which implies that the local force generation by single podosomes can be different from their global combined action. Complementary to previous studies focusing on individual podosomes, here we investigated the cell-wide force generation of podosome-bearing ER-Hoxb8 monocytes. We found that the occurrence of focal tractions accompanied by a cell-wide substrate indentation cannot be explained by summing the forces of single podosomes. Instead, our findings suggest that superimposed contraction on the cell scale gives rise to a buckling mechanism that can explain the measured cell-scale indentation. Specifically, the actomyosin network contraction causes peripheral in-plane substrate tractions, while the accumulated internal stress results in out-of-plane deformation in the central cell region via a buckling instability, producing the cell-scale indentation. Hence, we propose that contraction of the actomyosin network, which connects the podosomes, leads to a substrate indentation that acts in addition to the protrusion forces of individual podosomes. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.

Keywords: Actin; Buckling; Mesoscale; Podosome; Protrusion; Traction force microscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actomyosin
  • Cell Surface Extensions
  • Humans
  • Monocytes
  • Podosomes*
  • Traction


  • Actomyosin