Scientific paper

Researchers from the Institute for Biophysics (Department of Nanobiotechnology) in collaboration with the group of Prof. Maria Teresa Miras-Portugal (Univ. Complutense Madrid, Spain), have employed Atomic Force Microscopy to detect and evaluate the impact of selective stimulation on native nucleotide receptors on the mechanical response of both endothelial cells and astrocytes.

Endothelial cells and astrocytes preferentially express metabotropic P2Y nucleotide receptors, which are involved in the maintenance of vascular and neural function. Among these, P2Y1 and P2Y2 receptors appear as main actors, since their stimulation induces intracellular calcium mobilization and activates signaling cascades linked to cytoskeletal reorganization. In the present work, we have analyzed, by means of atomic force microscopy (AFM) in force spectroscopy mode, the mechanical response of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and astrocytes upon 2MeSADP and UTP stimulation. This approach allows for simultaneous measurement of variations in factors such as Young’s modulus, maximum adhesion force and rupture event formation, which reflect the potential changes in both the stiffness and adhesiveness of the plasma membrane. The largest effect was observed in both endothelial cells and astrocytes after P2Y2 receptor stimulation with UTP. Such exposure to UTP doubled the Young’s modulus and reduced both the adhesion force and the number of rupture events. In astrocytes, 2MeSADP stimulation also had a remarkable effect on AFM parameters. Additional studies performed with the selective P2Y1 and P2Y13 receptor antagonists revealed that the 2MeSADP-induced mechanical changes were mediated by the P2Y13 receptor, although they were negatively modulated by P2Y1 receptor stimulation. Hence, our results demonstrate that AFM can be a very useful tool to evaluate functional native nucleotide receptors in living cells.


Full article on Nucleotides-Induced Changes in the Mechanical Properties of Living Endothelial Cells and Astrocytes, Analyzed by Atomic Force Microscopy; International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2021, 22(2), 624

By Juan Carlos Gil-Redondo, Jagoba Iturri, Felipe Ortega. Raquel Pérez-Sen, Andreas Weber, María Teresa Miras-Portugal, Jose Luis Toca-Herrera and Esmerilda G. Delicado.

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dissecting the Purinergic Signaling Puzzle)