Photoactivatable Hydrogel Interfaces for Resolving the Interplay of Chemical, Mechanical, and Geometrical Regulation of Collective Cell Migration

Shota Yamamoto, Kei Okada, Naoki Sasaki, Alice Chinghsuan Chang, Kazuo Yamaguchi, Jun Nakanishi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Collective migration is the mechanobiological interplay within migrating cell clusters and against extracellular matrixes (ECMs) underneath, mediating various physiological and pathological processes. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a robust platform on which collective migration can be studied under standardized conditions to understand how cells migrate differently between normal and disease states. We herein demonstrated phtotoactivatable hydrogel interfaces as suitable candidates for such applications. The substrate was composed of a poly(acrylamide) (PAAm) hydrogel whose surface was sequentially functionalized with poly-d-lysine (PDL) and photocleavable poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). On the surface of the gel substrates, cell clusters with any given geometries can be prepared by controlling the irradiation patterns (geometrical cue), and their collective migration can be induced by the subsequent irradiation of the surrounding regions. Moreover, the substrate mechanical properties can be controlled by changing the composition of the PAAm hydrogel (mechanical cue), and the chemical properties were controlled by changing the amount of immobilized PDL, thereby altering the adsorbed amount of ECM proteins (chemical cue). The photoactivatable gel substrates were characterized by fluorescence microscopy, ζ-potential measurements, and the protein adsorption test. Through the study of the interplay of chemical, mechanical, and geometrical cues in the regulation of collective characteristics, we found additive effects of chemical and mechanical cues on the suppression of circular expansion by up-regulating the epithelial morphology. Also, the impact of geometrical cues became more significant by decreasing the chemical cue. We believe the present platform will be a useful research tool for the comprehensive mechanobiological analysis of collective cell migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7459-7468
Number of pages10
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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