FRET measurements of cell-traction forces and nano-scale clustering of adhesion ligands varied by substrate stiffness

Date Published:

2005 Mar 22


The mechanical properties of cell adhesion substrates regulate cell phenotype, but the mechanism of this relation is currently unclear. It may involve the magnitude of traction force applied by the cell, and/or the ability of the cells to rearrange the cell adhesion molecules presented from the material. In this study, we describe a FRET technique that can be used to evaluate the mechanics of cell-material interactions at the molecular level and simultaneously quantify the cell-based nanoscale rearrangement of the material itself. We found that these events depended on the mechanical rigidity of the adhesion substrate. Furthermore, both the proliferation and differentiation of preosteoblasts (MC3T3-E1) correlated to the magnitude of force that cells generate to cluster the cell adhesion ligands, but not the extent of ligand clustering. Together, these data demonstrate the utility of FRET in analyzing cell-material interactions, and suggest that regulation of phenotype with substrate stiffness is related to alterations in cellular traction forces.
Last updated on 09/29/2017