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Colored polydimethylsiloxane micropillar arrays for high throughput measurements of forces applied by genetic model organisms

Khare, Siddharth M and Awasthi, Anjali and Venkataraman, V and Koushika, Sandhya P (2015) Colored polydimethylsiloxane micropillar arrays for high throughput measurements of forces applied by genetic model organisms. In: BIOMICROFLUIDICS, 9 (1).

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4906905


Measuring forces applied by multi-cellular organisms is valuable in investigating biomechanics of their locomotion. Several technologies have been developed to measure such forces, for example, strain gauges, micro-machined sensors, and calibrated cantilevers. We introduce an innovative combination of techniques as a high throughput screening tool to assess forces applied by multiple genetic model organisms. First, we fabricated colored Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) micropillars where the color enhances contrast making it easier to detect and track pillar displacement driven by the organism. Second, we developed a semiautomated graphical user interface to analyze the images for pillar displacement, thus reducing the analysis time for each animal to minutes. The addition of color reduced the Young's modulus of PDMS. Therefore, the dye-PDMS composite was characterized using Yeoh's hyperelastic model and the pillars were calibrated using a silicon based force sensor. We used our device to measure forces exerted by wild type and mutant Caenorhabditis elegans moving on an agarose surface. Wild type C. elegans exert an average force of similar to 1 mu N on an individual pillar and a total average force of similar to 7.68 mu N. We show that the middle of C. elegans exerts more force than its extremities. We find that C. elegans mutants with defective body wall muscles apply significantly lower force on individual pillars, while mutants defective in sensing externally applied mechanical forces still apply the same average force per pillar compared to wild type animals. Average forces applied per pillar are independent of the length, diameter, or cuticle stiffness of the animal. We also used the device to measure, for the first time, forces applied by Drosophila melanogaster larvae. Peristaltic waves occurred at 0.4Hz applying an average force of similar to 1.58 mu N on a single pillar. Our colored microfluidic device along with its displacement tracking software allows us to measure forces applied by multiple model organisms that crawl or slither to travel through their environment. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the AMER INST PHYSICS, 1305 WALT WHITMAN RD, STE 300, MELVILLE, NY 11747-4501 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2015 07:38
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2015 07:38
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/51260

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