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Langmuir. 2005 Dec 6;21(25):11963-8.

E-cadherin tethered to micropatterned supported lipid bilayers as a model for cell adhesion.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.


Cell-cell adhesion is a dynamic process requiring recruitment, binding, and reorganization of signaling proteins in the plane of the plasma membrane. Here, we describe a new system for investigating how this lateral mobility influences cadherin-based cell signaling. This model is based on tethering of a GPI-modified E-cadherin protein (hEFG) to a supported lipid bilayer. In this report, membrane microfluidics and micropatterning techniques are used to adopt this tethered protein system for studies with the anchorage-dependent cells. As directly formed from proteoliposomes, hEFG exhibits a diffusion coefficient of 0.6 +/- 0.3 microm(2)/s and mobile fraction of 30-60%. Lateral structuring of the supported lipid bilayer is used to isolate mobile proteins from this mixed mobile/immobile population, and should be widely applicable to other proteins. MCF-7 cells seeded onto hEFG-containing bilayers recognize and cluster this protein, but do not exhibit cell spreading required for survival. By micropatterning small anchors into the supported lipid bilayer, we have achieved cell spreading across the bilayer surface and concurrent interaction with mobile hEFG protein. Together, these techniques will allow more detailed analysis of the cellular dynamics involved in cadherin-dependent adhesion events.

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