Activation of integrin function by nanopatterned adhesive interfaces

Marco Arnold, Elisabetta Ada Cavalcanti-Adam, Roman Glass, Jacques Blümmel, Wolfgang Eck, Martin Kantlehner, Horst Kessler, Joachim P. Spatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1032 Scopus citations


To study the function behind the molecular arrangement of single integrins in cell adhesion, we designed a hexagonally close-packed rigid template of cell-adhesive gold nanodots coated with cyclic RGDfK peptide by using block-copolymer micelle nanolithography. The diameter of the adhesive dots is <8 nm, which allows the binding of one integrin per dot. These dots are positioned with high precision at 28, 58, 73, and 85 nm spacing at interfaces. A separation of ≥73 nm between the adhesive dots results in limited cell attachment and spreading, and dramatically reduces the formation of focal adhesion and actin stress fibers. We attribute these cellular responses to restricted integrin clustering rather than insufficient number of ligand molecules in the cell-matrix interface since "micronanopatterned" substrates consisting of alternating fields with dense and no nanodots do support cell adhesion. We propose that the range between 58-73 nm is a universal length scale for integrin clustering and activation, since these properties are shared by a variety of cultured cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-388
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Mar 2004


  • Cell adhesion
  • Integrin
  • Nanopatterning
  • Self-assembly
  • Surfaces


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