Pressure differences influence cell division

Cytokinesis, or cell division, is one of the most fundamental process in biology. The division of one cell into two naturally involves dramatic changes to the cell shape. This change in shape also produces large changes in the cell’s Laplace pressure, which is the difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the cell across the cell membrane. Aside from cytokinesis, Laplace pressure plays an important role in several biological processes, including cell migration, proliferation and apoptosis. However, despite the many roles that Laplace pressures play across biology, its effect on cytokinesis is still poorly understood.

In the scientific article Effects of the Laplace pressure on the cells during cytokinesis, just published in iScience, Dr. Fan Song and coworkers regulate the Laplace pressure by controlling extracellular osmolarity and study how the changes affect cell behavior during cytokinesis. Their results show a correlation between changes in cell size and Laplace pressure when the dividing cell responds to changes in osmolarity, and that Laplace pressure triggers formation of cell membrane bubbles which influence cell division symmetry. The researchers then used BioPen to create a chemical gradient across the dividing cell using the compound Cytochalasin B (CB) that affects actin polymerization. This experiment resulted in an observed cell division asymmetry caused by the inhibiting effect of CB on actin polymerization, preventing the cell from using the Laplace pressure and membrane bubble formation to adjust cell symmetry.

We congratulate Dr. Fang Song and co-workers for their interesting findings, shedding light into some of the most fundamental aspects of biology. We are very honored that they have chosen to use BioPen in their work and look forward to taking part of their research in the future.

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