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Mesenchymal Stem Cells Resist Mechanical Confinement through the Activation of the Cortex during Cell Division

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journal contribution
posted on 09.08.2021, 04:29 authored by Chuanchuan Lin, Ye He, Kun Xu, Qian Feng, Xuan Li, Songyue Zhang, Ke Li, Ruqing Bai, Hong Jiang, Kaiyong Cai
The mechanical properties of the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) change extensively, but these specific properties provide a relatively stable environment for resident cells. Although the effect of matrix stiffness on cell functions has been widely studied, the molecular mechanism was still not fully understood. Matrix stiffening is a common phenomenon in tissue damaging processes. To explore the effect of the increase in local matrix stiffness on cell behaviors, a three-dimensional (3D) cell culture system with a tunable modulus but constant other physical parameters was constructed by the alginate hydrogel with different molecular weights and cross-linking degrees. By using this culture system, the transcriptome response of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to matrix stiffness was explored. Furthermore, a finite element model was developed to simulate the interaction between cells and the matrix. Results revealed that the increased matrix stiffness promoted the proliferation-related signaling of MSCs, and this process depended on the increased cortex tension caused by the activation of RAS and myosin II.