Forces applied by intact mucus-propelling cilia were measured for the first time that we know of using a combined atomic force microscopy (AFM) and electrooptic system. The AFM probe was dipped into a field of beating cilia and its time-dependent deflection was recorded as it was struck by the cilia while the electrooptic system simultaneously and colocally measured the frequency to ensure that no perturbation was induced by the AFM probe. Using cilia from frog esophagus, we measured forces of ∼0.21 nN per cilium during the effective stroke. This value, together with the known internal structure of these cilia, leads to the conclusion that most dynein arms along the length of the axoneme contribute to the effective stroke of these cilia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas