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Cell adhesion strength is controlled by intermolecular spacing of adhesion receptors

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Selhuber-Unkel,  Christine
Cellular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Spatz,  Joachim P.
Cellular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Biophysical Chemistry, Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany;

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Citation

Selhuber-Unkel, C., Erdmann, T., López-García, M., Kessler, H., Schwarz, U. S., & Spatz, J. P. (2010). Cell adhesion strength is controlled by intermolecular spacing of adhesion receptors. Biophysical Journal, 98(4), 543-551. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2009.11.001.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-3B4E-D
Abstract
Spatial patterning of biochemical cues on the micro- and nanometer scale controls numerous cellular processes such as spreading, adhesion, migration, and proliferation. Using force microscopy we show that the lateral spacing of individual integrin receptor-ligand bonds determines the strength of cell adhesion. For spacings > or = 90 nm, focal contact formation was inhibited and the detachment forces as well as the stiffness of the cell body were significantly decreased compared to spacings < or = 50 nm. Analyzing cell detachment at the subcellular level revealed that rupture forces of focal contacts increase with loading rate as predicted by a theoretical model for adhesion clusters. Furthermore, we show that the weak link between the intra- and extracellular space is at the intracellular side of a focal contact. Our results show that cells can amplify small differences in adhesive cues to large differences in cell adhesion strength.