Extracellular forces transmitted through the cytoskeleton can deformthe cell nucleus. Large nuclear deformations increase the risk of disrupting the integrity of the nuclear envelope and causing DNA damage. The mechanical stability of the nucleus defines its capability to maintain nuclear shape by minimizing nuclear deformation and allowing strain to be minimized when deformed. Understanding the deformation and recovery behavior of the nucleus requires characterization of nuclear viscoelastic properties. Here, we quantified the decoupled viscoelastic parameters of the cell membrane, cytoskeleton, and the nucleus. The results indicate that the cytoskeleton enhances nuclear mechanical stability by lowering the effective deformability of the nucleus while maintaining nuclear sensitivity to mechanical stimuli. Additionally, the cytoskeleton decreases the strain energy release rate of the nucleus and might thus prevent shape change-induced structural damage to chromatin.
- Nuclear mechanics
- Strain recovery