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Induction of Intermembrane Adhesion by Incorporation of Synthetic Adhesive Molecules into Cell Membranes

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posted on 17.02.2015 by Ai Ushiyama, Mio Ono, Chiho Kataoka-Hamai, Tetsushi Taguchi, Yoshihisa Kaizuka
Modulation of cell adhesion by synthetic materials is useful for a wide range of biomedical applications. Here, we characterized cell adhesion mediated by a semisynthetic molecule, cholesteryl-modified gelatin (chol-gelatin). We found that this hybrid molecule facilitated cell adhesion by connecting two apposed membranes via multiple cholesterol moieties on the gelatin molecules, whereas unmodified gelatin did not bind to cell membranes. Analyses revealed that the rate of the formation of cell adhesions was increased by displaying more cholesterol moieties on the cell membrane. In contrast, the area of the cell adhesion site was unchanged by increasing the number of cholesterol molecules, suggesting that chol-gelatin may suppress cell spreading. Such restriction was not observed in cell adhesion mediated by the mutant of physiological adhesion protein CD2, which lacked its cytoplasmic domain and was unable to connect to cytoplasmic actin filaments, but had a similar affinity for its ligand compared with the chol-gelatin–cell membrane interaction. Further analysis suggested the restriction of cell spreading by chol-gelatin was largely independent of the modulation of the surface force, and thus we hypothesize that the restriction could be in part due to the modulation of cell membrane mechanics by membrane-incorporated chol-gelatin. Our study dissected the two roles of the hybrid molecule in cell adhesion, namely the formation of a molecular connection and the restriction of spreading, and may be useful for designing other novel synthetic agents to modulate various types of cell adhesions.

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