Remnant Effects of Culture Density on Cell Chirality After Reseeding

Proper muscle function requires specific orientation of myotubes. Cell chirality, a mechanical behavior of cells, may participate in myogenesis and give rise to left–right (LR) orientation of muscle tissue. Thus, it is essential to understand the factors effecting the cell chirality. Here, using C2C12 cells as a model system, we report that prior culture condition with high/low density can create remnant effects on cell chirality after reseeding. C2C12 myoblasts were first conditioned by a series of subcultures with plating density at 2200 cells/cm2 (low density) or 22 000 cells/cm2 (high density). After reseeding on micropatterned stripes fabricated on glass or polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates, we found that the cells after low-density cultures exhibited a reduced cell aspect ratio and intercellular alignment, leading to an attenuated chiral orientation only appearing on glass substrate. In contrast, chiral orientation was observed in cells after high-density culture on both substrates. By comparing it to the original cells without being subcultured with high/low density, we found that the series of low-density cultures disorganized the formation of actin rings in single cells, which is an essential structure for cell chirality. Moreover, by using high-density culture supplemented with inhibitors of actin polymerization, the effect of low-density cultures was recaptured, suggesting that the series of subcultures with high/low density may be an in vitro aging process that modifies the actin cytoskeleton, causing a remnant attenuation of cell chirality even after trypsin digestion and reseeding. Together, our result suggests a mechanistic insight of how cytoskeletal structures “memorize” the previous experience through modification of the actin filament, opening up new possibilities for morphogenesis and mechanobiology.