Nanoscale E-Cadherin Ligand Patterns Show Threshold Size for Cellular Adhesion and Adherence Junction Formation

The role of ligand spatial distribution on the formation of cadherin mediated cell–cell contacts is studied utilizing nanopatterns of E-cadherin ligands. Protein patches ranging in size from 100 to 800 nm prepared by colloidal lithography critically influence adhesion, spreading, and formation of adherence junctions in epithelial cells. Cells at 100 nm patterns show poor adhesion, while larger pattern sizes show good adhesion, significant spreading, and defined cortical actin. We estimate a threshold of 0.03 μm2 for epithelial cellular attachment via E-Cadherin.