Controlling Intracellular Machinery via Polymer Pen Lithography Molecular Patterning

Millicent Lin, Brian Meckes, Chaojian Chen, Michelle H. Teplensky, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The plasma membrane and the actomyosin cytoskeleton play key roles in controlling how cells sense and interact with their surrounding environment. Myosin, a force-generating actin network-associated protein, is a major regulator of plasma membrane tension, which helps control endocytosis. Despite the important link between plasma membranes and actomyosin (the actin-myosin complex), little is known about how the actomyosin arrangement regulates endocytosis. Here, nanoscopic ligand arrangements defined by polymer pen lithography (PPL) are used to control actomyosin contractility and examine cell uptake. Confocal microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and flow cytometry suggest that the cytoskeletal tension imposed by the nanoscopic ligand arrangement can actively regulate cellular uptake through clathrin- and caveolin-mediated pathways. Specifically, ligand arrangements that increase cytoskeletal tension tend to reduce the cellular uptakes of cholera toxin (CTX) and spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) by regulating endocytic budding and limiting the formation of clathrin- and caveolae-coated pits. Collectively, this work demonstrates how the cell endocytic fate is regulated by actomyosin mechanical forces, which can be tuned by subcellular cues defined by PPL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1282-1289
Number of pages8
JournalACS Central Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 28 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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