Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


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Biomed Microdevices. ; 24(4): 33. doi:10.1007/s10544-022-00633-z.


HHS Public Access.


We previously reported a single-cell adhesion micro tensile tester (SCAμTT) fabricated from IP-S photoresin with two-photon polymerization (TPP) for investigating the mechanics of a single cell-cell junction under defined tensile loading. A major limitation of the platform is the autofluorescence of IP-S, the photoresin for TPP fabrication, which significantly increases background signal and makes fluorescent imaging of stretched cells difficult. In this study, we report the design and fabrication of a new SCAμTT platform that mitigates autofluorescence and demonstrate its capability in imaging a single cell pair as its mutual junction is stretched. By employing a two-material design using IP-S and IP-Visio, a photoresin with reduced autofluorescence, we show a significant reduction in autofluorescence of the platform. Further, by integrating apertures onto the substrate with a gold coating, the influence of autofluorescence on imaging is almost completely mitigated. With this new platform, we demonstrate the ability to image a pair of epithelial cells as they are stretched up to 250% strain, allowing us to observe junction rupture and F-actin retraction while simultaneously recording the accumulation of over 800 kPa of stress in the junction. The platform and methodology presented here can potentially enable detailed investigation of the mechanics of and mechanotransduction in cell-cell junctions and improve the design of other TPP platforms in mechanobiology applications.