AFM Force Spectroscopy Reveals the Role of Integrins and Their Activation in Cell-Biomaterial Interactions

Riina Harjumäki, Xue Zhang, Robertus Wahyu N. Nugroho, Muhammad Farooq, Yan Ru Lou, Marjo Yliperttula, Juan José Valle-Delgado*, Monika Österberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Transmembrane protein integrins play a key role in cell adhesion. Cell-biomaterial interactions are affected by integrin expression and conformation, which are actively controlled by cells. Although integrin structure and function have been studied in detail, quantitative analyses of integrin-mediated cell-biomaterial interactions are still scarce. Here, we have used atomic force spectroscopy to study how integrin distribution and activation (via intracellular mechanisms in living cells or by divalent cations) affect the interaction of human pluripotent stem cells (WA07) and human hepatocarcinoma cells (HepG2) with promising biomaterials-human recombinant laminin-521 (LN-521) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). Cell adhesion to LN-521-coated probes was remarkably influenced by cell viability, divalent cations, and integrin density in WA07 colonies, indicating that specific bonds between LN-521 and activated integrins play a significant role in the interactions between LN-521 and HepG2 and WA07 cells. In contrast, the interactions between CNF and cells were nonspecific and not influenced by cell viability or the presence of divalent cations. These results shed light on the underlying mechanisms of cell adhesion, with direct impact on cell culture and tissue engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1406-1417
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • atomic force microscope
  • cellulose nanofibrils
  • colloidal probe microscopy
  • force spectroscopy
  • human hepatocarcinoma cells
  • human pluripotent stem cells
  • integrin
  • laminin-521


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