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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.26 SNIP: 0.375 CiteScore™: 1.4

ISSN Imprimer: 0278-940X
ISSN En ligne: 1943-619X

Volume 48, 2020 Volume 47, 2019 Volume 46, 2018 Volume 45, 2017 Volume 44, 2016 Volume 43, 2015 Volume 42, 2014 Volume 41, 2013 Volume 40, 2012 Volume 39, 2011 Volume 38, 2010 Volume 37, 2009 Volume 36, 2008 Volume 35, 2007 Volume 34, 2006 Volume 33, 2005 Volume 32, 2004 Volume 31, 2003 Volume 30, 2002 Volume 29, 2001 Volume 28, 2000 Volume 27, 1999 Volume 26, 1998 Volume 25, 1997 Volume 24, 1996 Volume 23, 1995

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2020033450
pages 1-16

Extending the Capabilities of Molecular Force Sensors via DNA Nanotechnology

Susana M. Beltrán
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Marvin J. Slepian
Department of Medicine and Sarver Heart Center, University of Arizona, Tucson; Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson; Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson
Rebecca E. Taylor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


At the nanoscale, pushing, pulling, and shearing forces drive biochemical processes in development and remodeling as well as in wound healing and disease progression. Research in the field of mechanobiology investigates not only how these loads affect biochemical signaling pathways but also how signaling pathways respond to local loading by triggering mechanical changes such as regional stiffening of a tissue. This feedback between mechanical and biochemical signaling is increasingly recognized as fundamental in embryonic development, tissue morphogenesis, cell signaling, and disease pathogenesis. Historically, the interdisciplinary field of mechanobiology has been driven by the development of technologies for measuring and manipulating cellular and molecular forces, with each new tool enabling vast new lines of inquiry. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the manufacturing and capabilities of molecular-scale force and strain sensors. We also demonstrate how DNA nanotechnology has been critical to the enhancement of existing techniques and to the development of unique capabilities for future mechanosensor assembly. DNA is a responsive and programmable building material for sensor fabrication. It enables the systematic interrogation of molecular biomechanics with forces at the 1- to 200-pN scale that are needed to elucidate the fundamental means by which cells and proteins transduce mechanical signals.


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