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Application of advanced surface patterning techniques to study cellular behavior
Application of advanced surface patterning techniques to study cellular behavior
Surface manipulation for the fabrication of chemical or topographic micro- and nanopatterns, has been central to the evolution of in vitro biology research. A high variety of surface patterning methods have been implemented in a wide spectrum of applications, including fundamental cell biology studies, development of diagnostic tools, biosensors and drug delivery systems, as well as implant design. Surface engineering has increased our understanding of cell functions such as cell adhesion and cell-cell interaction mechanics, cell proliferation, cell spreading and migration. From a plethora of existing surface engineering techniques, we use standard microcontact printing methods followed by click chemistry to study the role of intercellular contacts in collective cancer cell migration. Cell dispersion from a confined area is fundamental in a number of biological processes, including cancer metastasis. To date, a quantitative understanding of the interplay of single cell motility, cell proliferation, and intercellular contacts remains elusive. In particular, the role of E- and N-Cadherin junctions, central components of intercellular contacts, is still controversial. Combining theoretical modeling with in vitro observations, we investigate the collective spreading behavior of colonies of human cancer cells (T24). The spreading of these colonies is driven by stochastic single-cell migration with frequent transient cell-cell contacts. We find that inhibition of E- and N-Cadherin junctions decreases colony spreading and average spreading velocities, without affecting the strength of correlations in spreading velocities of neighboring cells. Based on a biophysical simulation model for cell migration, we show that the behavioral changes upon disruption of these junctions can be explained by reduced repulsive excluded volume interactions between cells. This suggests that in cancer cell migration, cadherin-based intercellular contacts sharpen cell boundaries leading to repulsive rather than cohesive interactions between cells, thereby promoting efficient cell spreading during collective migration. Despite the remarkable progress in surface engineering technology and its applications, a combination of pattern properties such as stability, precision, specificity, high-throughput outcome and spatiotemporal control is highly desirable but challenging to achieve. Here, we introduce a versatile and high-throughput covalent photo-immobilization technique, comprising a light-dose dependent patterning step and a subsequent functionalization of the pattern via click chemistry. This two-step process is feasible on arbitrary surfaces and allows for generation of sustainable patterns and gradients. The method is validated in different biological systems by patterning adhesive ligands on cell repellent surfaces, thereby constraining the growth and migration of cells to the designated areas. We then implement a sequential photopatterning approach by adding a second switchable pattering step, allowing for spatiotemporal control over two distinct surface patterns. As a proof of concept, we reconstruct the dynamics of the tip/stalk cell switch during angiogenesis. Our results show that the spatiotemporal control provided by our “sequential photopatterning” system is essential for mimicking dynamic biological processes, and that our innovative approach has a great potential for further applications in cell science. In summary, this work introduces two novel and versatile paradigms of surface patterning for studying different aspects of cell behaviour in different cell types. The reliability of both setups is experimentally confirmed, providing new insight into the role of cell-cell contacts during collective cancer cell migration as well as the tip/stalk switch behaviour during angiogenesis.
surface engineering, click chemistry, photopatterning, microcontact printing, angiogenesis, collective migration, cadherin, cancer, modeling
Zisis, Themistoklis
2022
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Zisis, Themistoklis (2022): Application of advanced surface patterning techniques to study cellular behavior. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy
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Abstract

Surface manipulation for the fabrication of chemical or topographic micro- and nanopatterns, has been central to the evolution of in vitro biology research. A high variety of surface patterning methods have been implemented in a wide spectrum of applications, including fundamental cell biology studies, development of diagnostic tools, biosensors and drug delivery systems, as well as implant design. Surface engineering has increased our understanding of cell functions such as cell adhesion and cell-cell interaction mechanics, cell proliferation, cell spreading and migration. From a plethora of existing surface engineering techniques, we use standard microcontact printing methods followed by click chemistry to study the role of intercellular contacts in collective cancer cell migration. Cell dispersion from a confined area is fundamental in a number of biological processes, including cancer metastasis. To date, a quantitative understanding of the interplay of single cell motility, cell proliferation, and intercellular contacts remains elusive. In particular, the role of E- and N-Cadherin junctions, central components of intercellular contacts, is still controversial. Combining theoretical modeling with in vitro observations, we investigate the collective spreading behavior of colonies of human cancer cells (T24). The spreading of these colonies is driven by stochastic single-cell migration with frequent transient cell-cell contacts. We find that inhibition of E- and N-Cadherin junctions decreases colony spreading and average spreading velocities, without affecting the strength of correlations in spreading velocities of neighboring cells. Based on a biophysical simulation model for cell migration, we show that the behavioral changes upon disruption of these junctions can be explained by reduced repulsive excluded volume interactions between cells. This suggests that in cancer cell migration, cadherin-based intercellular contacts sharpen cell boundaries leading to repulsive rather than cohesive interactions between cells, thereby promoting efficient cell spreading during collective migration. Despite the remarkable progress in surface engineering technology and its applications, a combination of pattern properties such as stability, precision, specificity, high-throughput outcome and spatiotemporal control is highly desirable but challenging to achieve. Here, we introduce a versatile and high-throughput covalent photo-immobilization technique, comprising a light-dose dependent patterning step and a subsequent functionalization of the pattern via click chemistry. This two-step process is feasible on arbitrary surfaces and allows for generation of sustainable patterns and gradients. The method is validated in different biological systems by patterning adhesive ligands on cell repellent surfaces, thereby constraining the growth and migration of cells to the designated areas. We then implement a sequential photopatterning approach by adding a second switchable pattering step, allowing for spatiotemporal control over two distinct surface patterns. As a proof of concept, we reconstruct the dynamics of the tip/stalk cell switch during angiogenesis. Our results show that the spatiotemporal control provided by our “sequential photopatterning” system is essential for mimicking dynamic biological processes, and that our innovative approach has a great potential for further applications in cell science. In summary, this work introduces two novel and versatile paradigms of surface patterning for studying different aspects of cell behaviour in different cell types. The reliability of both setups is experimentally confirmed, providing new insight into the role of cell-cell contacts during collective cancer cell migration as well as the tip/stalk switch behaviour during angiogenesis.