We report the establishment of a library of micromolded elastomeric micropost arrays to modulate substrate rigidity independently of effects on adhesive and other material surface properties. We demonstrated that micropost rigidity impacts cell morphology, focal adhesions, cytoskeletal contractility and stem cell differentiation. Furthermore, early changes in cytoskeletal contractility predicted later stem cell fate decisions in single cells.
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We acknowledge financial support from the US National Institutes of Health (EB00262, HL73305 and GM74048), the Army Research Office Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, the Material Research Science and Engineering Center, the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Nano/Bio Interface Center, the Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders of the University of Pennsylvania and the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials. J.F. and Y.-K.W. were both partially funded by the American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship. M.T.Y. was partially funded by the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program (DGE-0221664). We thank P. Mao and Y. Veklich for assistance with electron microscopy, D.M. Cohen for critical feedback on the manuscript and members of the Microsystems Technology Laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for support in cleanroom fabrication.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Fu, J., Wang, YK., Yang, M. et al. Mechanical regulation of cell function with geometrically modulated elastomeric substrates. Nat Methods 7, 733–736 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.1487
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