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The plant cell mechanics, including turgor pressure and wall mechanical properties, not only determine the growth of plant cells, but also reflect the functional and structural changes of plant cells under biotic and abiotic stresses. However, there are currently no appropriate techniques allowing to monitor the complex mechanical properties of living plant cells non-invasively and continuously. In this work, quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) monitoring technique with overtones (3-9) was used for the dynamic monitoring of adhesions of living tobacco BY-2 cells onto positively charged N,N-dimethyl-N-propenyl-2-propen-1-aminiumchloride homopolymer (PDADMAC)/SiO2 QCM crystals under different concentrations of mannitol (CM) and the subsequent effects of osmotic stresses. The cell viscoelastic index (CVIn) (CVIn = ΔD⋅n/ΔF) was used to characterize the viscoelastic properties of BY-2 cells under different osmotic conditions. Our results indicated that lower overtones of QCM could detect both the cell wall and cytoskeleton structures allowing the detection of plasmolysis phenomena; whereas higher overtones could only detect the cell wall's mechanical properties. The QCM results were further discussed with the morphological changes of the BY-2 cells by an optical microscopy. The dynamic changes of cell's generated forces or cellular structures of plant cells caused by external stimuli (or stresses) can be traced by non-destructive and dynamic monitoring of cells' viscoelasticity, which provides a new way for the characterization and study of plant cells. QCM-D could map viscoelastic properties of different cellular structures in living cells and could be used as a new tool to test the mechanical properties of plant cells.


Zongxing Chen, Tiean Zhou, Jiajin Hu, Haifeng Duan. Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation Monitoring of Dynamic Viscoelastic Changes of Tobacco BY-2 Cells under Different Osmotic Conditions. Biosensors. 2021 Apr 27;11(5)

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PMID: 33925584

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