Focal adhesions (FAs) are dynamic protein nanostructures that form mechanical links between cytoskeletal actin fibers and the extracellular matrix. Here, we demonstrate that interferometric scattering (iSCAT) microscopy, a high-speed and time-unlimited imaging technique, can uncover the real-time dynamics of nanoscopic nascent adhesions (NAs). The high sensitivity and stability of the iSCAT signal enabled us to trace the whole life span of each NA spontaneously nucleated under a lamellipodium. Such high-throughput and long-term image data provide a unique opportunity for statistical analysis of adhesion dynamics. Moreover, we directly revealed that FAs play critical roles in both the extrusion of filopodia as nucleation sites on the leading edge and the one-dimensional transport of cargos along cytoskeletal fibers as fiber docking sites. These experimental results show that iSCAT is a sensitive tool for tracking real-time dynamics of nanoscopic objects involved in endogenous and exogenous biological processes in living cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry