Manipulation of cell mechanotaxis by designing curvature of the elasticity boundary on hydrogel matrix

Ayaka Ueki, Satoru Kidoaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Directional cell migration induced by the stiffness gradient of cell culture substrates is known as a subset of the mechanical-cue-induced taxis, so-called mechanotaxis, typically durotaxis toward hard region. To establish the general conditions of biomaterials to manipulate the mechanotaxis, the effect of the shape of the elasticity transition boundary between hard and soft regions of a substrate on mechanotaxis should be systematically determined as well as the conditions of elasticity gradient strength. Here, as a simplified factor of expressing variations in the shape of the elasticity boundary in living tissues, we focus on the curvature of the elasticity boundary. Mask-free photolithographic microelasticity patterning of photocurable gelatin gel was employed to systematically prepare elasticity boundaries with various curvatures, and the efficiency of mechanotaxis of fibroblast cells around each curved boundary was examined. Highly efficient usual durotaxis was induced on a convex boundary with 100μm in radius and on a concave boundary with 750μm in radius of curvature. Interestingly, biased migration toward soft regions of the gel, i.e., inverse durotaxis, was first observed for concave boundaries with 50μm or 100μm in radius of curvature, which was named as "negative mechanotaxis". The curvature of the elasticity boundary was found to markedly affect the efficiency of induction and the direction of mechanotaxis. The mechanism responsible for this phenomenon and the implication for the curvature effect in invivo systems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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