Enhanced cell viscosity: A new phenotype associated with lamin A/C alterations

iScience. 2023 Aug 25;26(10):107714. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.107714. eCollection 2023 Oct 20.


Lamin A/C is a well-established key contributor to nuclear stiffness and its role in nucleus mechanical properties has been extensively studied. However, its impact on whole-cell mechanics has been poorly addressed, particularly concerning measurable physical parameters. In this study, we combined microfluidic experiments with theoretical analyses to quantitatively estimate the whole-cell mechanical properties. This allowed us to characterize the mechanical changes induced in cells by lamin A/C alterations and prelamin A accumulation resulting from atazanavir treatment or lipodystrophy-associated LMNA R482W pathogenic variant. Our results reveal a distinctive increase in long-time viscosity as a signature of cells affected by lamin A/C alterations. Furthermore, they show that the whole-cell response to mechanical stress is driven not only by the nucleus but also by the nucleo-cytoskeleton links and the microtubule network. The enhanced cell viscosity assessed with our microfluidic assay could serve as a valuable diagnosis marker for lamin-related diseases.

Keywords: Biological sciences; Biotechnology; Cell biology.