Difference in biophysical properties of cancer-initiating cells in melanoma mutated zebrafish

N. Makarova, Vivek Kalaparthi, Andrew Wang, Chris Williams, M. E. Dokukin, Charles K. Kaufman, Leonard Zon, I. Sokolov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite sharing oncogenetic mutations, only a small number of cells within a given tissue will undergo malignant transformation. Biochemical and physical factors responsible for this cancer-initiation process are not well understood. Here we study biophysical differences of pre-melanoma and melanoma cells in a BRAFV600E/P53 zebrafish model. The AFM indentation technique was used to study the cancer-initiating cells while the surrounding melanocytes were the control. We observed a statistically significant decrease in the modulus of elasticity (the effective Young's modulus) of cancer-initiating cells compared to the surrounding melanocytes. No significant differences in the pericellular coat surrounding cells were observed. These results contribute to a better understanding of the factors responsible for the initiation of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103746
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Cell mechanics
  • Initiation of cancer
  • Pericellular coat
  • Zebrafish


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