We developed a dual-beam optical tweezers setup with video-based force detection to precisely determine the mechanic properties of living cells in suspension with superior sensitivity compared to other techniques like optical stretchers and atomic force microscopy (AFM). With high time resolution we are able to determine both the elastic and the viscous properties of the cells. This novel setup is combined with custom-designed microfluidic cartridges to automatically and reliably pattern cells and beads at specific positions. The beads and cells are trapped and coupled to yield bead-cell-bead complexes.
First results of the elasticity of HEK293 (human embryonic kidney) cells and skin fibroblasts are presented. The latter contain TMEM43-p.S358L mutation, which is linked to arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.