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Frontiers in Biology

Front Biol    2013, Vol. 8 Issue (1) : 32-49
Approaches in extracellular matrix engineering for determination of adhesion molecule mediated single cell function
Chantal E. AYRES-SANDER, Anjelica L. GONZALEZ()
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
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The native extracellular matrix (ECM) and the cells that comprise human tissues are together engaged in a complex relationship; cells alter the composition and structure of the ECM to regulate the material and biologic properties of the surrounding environment while the composition and structure of the ECM modulates cellular processes that maintain healthy tissue and repair diseased tissue. This reciprocal relationship occurs via cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) such as integrins, selectins, cadherins and IgSF adhesion molecules. To study these cell-ECM interactions, researchers use two-dimensional substrates or three-dimensional matrices composed of native proteins or bioactive peptide sequences to study single cell function. While two-dimensional substrates provide valuable information about cell-ECM interactions, three-dimensional matrices more closely mimic the native ECM; cells cultured in three-dimensional matrices have demonstrated greater cell movement and increased integrin expression when compared to cells cultured on two-dimensional substrates. In this article we review a number of cellular processes (adhesion, motility, phagocytosis, differentiation and survival) and examine the cell adhesion molecules and ECM proteins (or bioactive peptide sequences) that mediate cell functionality.

Keywords Extracellular matrix      integrins      biomaterials      natural polymers      peptide sequences      RGD     
Corresponding Author(s): GONZALEZ Anjelica L.,   
Issue Date: 01 February 2013
 Cite this article:   
Chantal E. AYRES-SANDER,Anjelica L. GONZALEZ. Approaches in extracellular matrix engineering for determination of adhesion molecule mediated single cell function[J]. Front Biol, 2013, 8(1): 32-49.
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Anjelica L. GONZALEZ
Fig.1  Overview of cell adhesion molecules.
Major proteins of the native ECM
ProteinPhysiologic locationFunctionMajor cell adhesion peptide sequence
CollagenWidely distributedStructure Cell-matrix interactionsGFOGER (Gly-Phe-O-Gly-Glu-Arg)
ElastinElastic tissues (arteries, veins, ligaments, lung, skin, intestines, bladder)StructureElasticityVGVAPG (Val-Gly-Val-Ala-Pro-Gly)
FibronectinWidely distributedBlood clotting Cell-matrix interactions Matrix-matrix nteractionsRGDS (Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser) LDV (Leu-Asp-Val)
LamininBasal laminaStructure Cell-matrix interactionsIKVAV (Ile-Lys-Val-Ala-Val) YIGSR (Tyr-Ile-Gly-Ser-Arg)
Tab.1  Major components of the native ECM that are commonly used for studying cell-ECM interactions. Adapted from ()
Fig.2  SEM images of a PEG hydrogel. PEG hydrogels were freeze-dried and gold sputter coated in preparation for SEM imaging.Left: approximately 2800x magnification, Right: approximately 22,000x magnification.
Fig.3  SEM images of electrospun collagen. Fiber diameter can be controlled by the initial electrospinning starting concentration; increased starting concentrations result in increased fiber diameter. Type I collagen was solubilized in 2,2,2-Trifluoroethanol and electrospun at starting concentrations of (A) 40 mg/mL, (B) 60 mg/mL, (C) 80 mg/mL and (D) 100 mg/mL. All images are 2000x magnification.
Fig.4  2D surfaces vs 3D matrices. 3D matrices more closely approximate the native ECM environment and induce cell reactions and responses that mimic those . Cells cultured on 3D matrices exhibit increased cell movement and integrin expression when compared to cells cultured on 2D surfaces. Labeling: ‘x’ on the cells denotes cell adhesion molecules.
Fig.5  Schematic of cell function as mediated by specific cell adhesion molecules and adhesion protein/peptide sequences. Labeling: α and β denotes integrins, S denotes selectins, FAK denotes focal adhesion kinase and PKB denotes protein kinase B.
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