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Azobenzene-based sinusoidal surface topography drives focal adhesion confinement and guides collective migration of epithelial cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number15329
Number of pages15
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Surface topography is a key parameter in regulating the morphology and behavior of single cells. At multicellular level, coordinated cell displacements drive many biological events such as embryonic morphogenesis. However, the effect of surface topography on collective migration of epithelium has not been studied in detail. Mastering the connection between surface features and collective cellular behaviour is highly important for novel approaches in tissue engineering and repair. Herein, we used photopatterned microtopographies on azobenzene-containing materials and showed that smooth topographical cues with proper period and orientation can efficiently orchestrate cell alignment in growing epithelium. Furthermore, the experimental system allowed us to investigate how the orientation of the topographical features can alter the speed of wound closure in vitro. Our findings indicate that the extracellular microenvironment topography coordinates their focal adhesion distribution and alignment. These topographic cues are able to guide the collective migration of multicellular systems, even when cell–cell junctions are disrupted.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland