Role of substrate rigidity on cell migration
Poh, Si En
Date of Issue2017-05-12
School of Biological Sciences
Cell migration plays a significant role in multicellular organisms, where it is involved in physiological processes like wound healing and tissue formation. In the recent decade, mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix have been recognized as an important regulator of cellular behavior, through which cells are able to sense via a process called mechanotransduction. This is mediated through focal adhesion structures. In cancer, perturbed mechanotransduction have been implicated in metastasis. Thus, in this study, we aim to investigate the role of substrate stiffness on the regulation of cell migration. Time-lapse microscopy of cells cultured on substrates of different rigidity revealed rigidity-dependent regulation of cellular migration. Compared to cells cultured on stiff substrates, migration rates of cells grown on soft substrates were observed to be decreased. This decrease in migration rates is possibly due to the development of less focal adhesion structures and actin stress fibers in the cells grown on soft substrates. Further examination of focal adhesion protein levels, paxillin and vinculin, by Western Blot revealed inconclusive results. Hence, further studies are required to characterize the role of matrix rigidity in regulating formation of focal adhesions and cellular migration.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University