Cell elongation and differentiation has been shown to be modulated by topographical cues provided by grating substratum. However, little is known about the mechanisms and forces involved in the grating-induced cell elongation, due to the difficulty in fabricating soft elastic gels that allow 3-dimensional (3D) cell traction stress measurements. In this paper, we present a method to fabricate soft elastic polyacrylamide grating substrates, using an imprinted polyethylene terephthalate mould, for 3D cell traction stress measurements.
Wong Sum Thai
The topography of the extracellular substrate provides physical cues to elicit specific downstream biophysical and biochemical effects in cells. An example of such a topographical substrate is periodic gratings, where the dimensions of the periodic gratings influence cell morphology and directs cell differentiation.
Through mechanotransduction, cells can sense physical cues from the extracellular environment and convert them into internal signals that affect various cellular functions. For example, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) cultured on topographical gratings have been shown to elongate and differentiate to different extents depending on grating width. Using a combination of experiments and mathematical modeling, the physical parameters of substrate topography that direct cell elongation were determined.