A micromachined device provides a new bend on fibroblast traction forces

Catherine G. Galbraith, Michael P. Sheetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

372 Scopus citations


We have measured the traction forces generated by fibroblasts using a novel micromachined device that is capable of determining the subcellular forces generated by individual adhesive contacts. The front of migrating fibroblasts produced intermittent rearward forces whereas the tail produced larger forward directed forces. None of the forces were steady; they all had periodic fluctuations. The transition between forward and rearward traction forces occurred at the nucleus, not at the rear of the cell or the border between the endoplasm and the ectoplasm. We propose that the coupling of lamella extensions to fluctuating rearward tractions in front of the nuclear region move the front of a fibroblast forward, while force-facilitated release of rear adhesive contacts and anterior-directed tractions allow the region behind the nucleus to advance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9114-9118
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 19 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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