Tension-activated Cell Tagging (TaCT)


A tool that measures cellular mechanical forces using flow cytometry.

Key Benefits

  • A fluorescently labeled approach based on the magnitude of molecular forces transmitted through cell adhesion receptors for evaluating mechanical forces in cells.
  • A prototype has been developed showing proof -of-concept via the ability to determine mechanical forces between cells.
  • Potential to improve the understanding of various diseases in basic research while promoting the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics.

Market Summary

Deformation-based flow cytometry characterizes the mechanical profile of cells that is complementary to their biochemical profile. Current technologies are limited in measuring deformation as it requires simultaneous assessment of volume, membrane composition, cytoskeletal dynamics, and cell cycle. The global market for flow cytometry/cell sorting exceeds $400 million due to technological advancements in cell sorters, increased investments for their development, and increased adoption of cell sorting techniques in research activities. This technology has the potential to become a new method for sorting and analyzing the mechanical properties of cells using flow cytometry.

Technical Summary

Researchers at Emory have developed a technique called Tension-activated Cell Tagging (TaCT) that enables flow cytometry-based identification and sorting of mechanically active cells based on the molecular forces transmitted by their surface adhesion receptors. TaCT probes are engineered with DNA duplexes that have a digital response to pN forces and release a cholesterol-modified strand that spontaneously incorporates into the membrane of force-generating cells that can be evaluated with commercial flow cytometers. In addition, the inventors have created a prototype of the technology and demonstrated proof-of-concept within the laboratory.

Developmental Stage

Prototype developed.

Patent Information

App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Patent Status
PCT PCT PCT/US2023/074757   9/21/2023   Pending
Tech ID: 22182
Published: 11/6/2023