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"A dual organelle-targeting mechanosensitive probe", a paper in Science Advances

Professor Alfonso H.W. Ngan of Department of Mechanical Engineering and his team from Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine of Karolinska Institutet and Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen had worked on the research for the topic “A dual organelle-targeting mechanosensitive probe”. The research was recently published by Science Advances on January 11, 2023.

Details of the publication:

A dual organelle-targeting mechanosensitive probe

PO-YU HO, TSU YU CHOU, CHUEN KAM, WENBIN HUANG, ZIKAI HE, ALFONSO H. W. NGAN, and SIJIE CHEN, Article in Science Advances,

Abstract:

Cells are responsive to the mechanical environment, but the methods to detect simultaneously how different organelles react in mechanobiological processes remain largely unexplored. We herein report a dual organelle-targeting fluorescent probe, (E)-1-[3-(diethoxyphosphoryl)propyl]-4-[4-(diethylamino)styryl]pyridin-1-ium bromide (ASP-PE), for mechanical mapping in live cells. ASP-PE is aggregation-induced emission active and is sensitive to the local mechanical environment. It targets the plasma membrane (PM) and intracellular mitochondria in cells by its phosphonate moiety and pyridinium. In this work, through ASP-PE staining, changes of membrane tension in the PM and mitochondria in response to varied osmotic pressure and substrate stiffness are visualized using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. The mechanobiological importance of actin filaments and microtubules in the PM and mitochondria is also investigated using this probe. Computational simulations are applied to study the sensing mechanism of the probe. This study introduces a unique tool for mapping the membrane tension in the PM and mitochondria together, providing us great opportunities to study organelle’s interactions in mechanobiology.


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