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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 5;103(49):18534-9. Epub 2006 Nov 21.

Quantifying the relation between adhesion ligand-receptor bond formation and cell phenotype.

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  • 1Division of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


One of the fundamental interactions in cell biology is the binding of cell receptors to adhesion ligands, and many aspects of cell behavior are believed to be regulated by the number of these bonds that form. Unfortunately, a lack of methods to quantify bond formation, especially for cells in 3D cultures or tissues, has precluded direct probing of this assumption. We now demonstrate that a FRET technique can be used to quantify the number of bonds formed between cellular receptors and synthetic adhesion oligopeptides coupled to an artificial extracellular matrix. Similar quantitative relations were found between bond number and the proliferation and differentiation of MC3T3-E1 preosteoblasts and C2C12 myoblasts, although the relation was distinct for each cell type. This approach to understanding 3D cell-extracellular matrix interactions will allow one to both predict cell behavior and to use bond number as a fundamental design criteria for synthetic extracellular matrices.

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