Letter abstract


Nature Materials 4, 403 - 406 (2005)
Published online: 17 April 2005 | doi:10.1038/nmat1365

Subject Categories: Biomedical materials | Mechanical properties | Surface and thin films | Design synthesis and processing

Fabrication of reconfigurable protein matrices by cracking

Xiaoyue Zhu1, Kristen L. Mills2, Portia R. Peters2, Joong Hwan Bahng1, Elizabeth Ho Liu1, Jeongsup Shim1, Keiji Naruse3, Marie E. Csete4, M. D. Thouless2,5 & Shuichi Takayama1,6

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The interface between extracellular matrices and cells is a dynamic environment that is crucial for regulating important cellular processes such as signal transduction, growth, differentiation, motility and apoptosis1. In vitro cellular studies and the development of new biomaterials would benefit from matrices that allow reversible modulation of the cell adhesive signals at a scale that is commensurate with individual adhesion complexes. Here, we describe the fabrication of substrates containing arrays of cracks in which cell-adhesive proteins are selectively adsorbed. The widths of the cracks (120–3,200 nm) are similar in size to individual adhesion complexes (typically 500–3,000 nm)2 and can be modulated by adjusting the mechanical strain applied to the substrate. Morphology of cells can be reversibly manipulated multiple times through in situ adjustment of crack widths and hence the amount of the cell-adhesive proteins accessible to the cell. These substrates provide a new tool for assessing cellular responses associated with exposure to matrix proteins.

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  1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA
  2. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA
  3. Department of Physiology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, 466-8550, Japan
  4. Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA
  5. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA
  6. Macromolecular Science and Engineering Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA

Correspondence to: Shuichi Takayama1,6 e-mail: takayama@umich.edu

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Fabrication of reconfigurable protein matrices by cracking

Nature Materials Letter (01 May 2005)