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Keywords:

  • cell mechanics;
  • cell shapes;
  • confocal microscopy;
  • micropatterning;
  • cortical actin
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

A tomography approach is used to reconstruct 3D cell shapes and, simultaneously, the shapes/positions of the nuclei within these cells. Subjecting the cells to well-defined microconfinements of various diameters allow for relating the steady-state shapes of cells to their static-mechanical properties. The observed shapes show striking regularities between different cell types and all fit to a model that takes into account the cell membrane, cortical actin, and the nucleus.