Biophysics of Cell-Substrate Interactions Under Shear, 2019

Topics: focal adhesions, stress fibers, mechanotransduction, shear stress and devices, biophysical models,
adhesion strength

Authors: Neha Paddillaya, Ashish Mishra, Paturu Kondaiah, Pramod Pullarkat, Gautam I. Menon and Namrata Gundiah


Cells adhere to substrates through mechanosensitive focal adhesion complexes. Measurements that probe how cells detach from substrates when they experience an applied force connect molecular-scale aspects of cell adhesion with the biophysical properties of adherent cells. Such forces can be applied through shear devices that flow fluid in a controlled manner across cells. The signaling pathways associated with focal adhesions, in particular those that involve integrins and receptor tyrosine kinases, are complex, receiving mechano-chemical feedback from the sensing of substrate stiffness as well as of external forces. This article reviews the signaling processes involved in mechanosensing and mechanotransduction during cell-substrate interactions, describing the role such signaling plays in cancer metastasis. We examine some recent progress in quantifying the strength of these interactions, describing a novel fluid shear device that allows for the visualization of the cell and its sub-cellular structures under a shear flow. We also summarize related results from a biophysical model for cellular de-adhesion induced by applied forces. Quantifying cell-substrate adhesions under shear should aid in the development ofmechano-diagnostic techniques for diseases in which cell-adhesion is mis-regulated, such as cancers.

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