Subcellular curvature at the perimeter of micropatterned cells influences lamellipodial distribution and cell polarity

Jane James, Edgar D. Goluch, Huan Hu, Chang Liu, Milan Mrksich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


This paper employs substrates that are patterned with shapes having well-defined geometric cues to characterize the influence of curvature on the polarization of highly metastatic B16F10 rat melanoma cells. Substrates were patterned using microcontact printing to define adhesive islands of defined shape and size on a background that otherwise prevents cell adhesion. Cells adherent to these surfaces responded to local curvature at the perimeter of the adhesive islands; convex features promoted the assembly of lamellipodia and concave features promoted the assembly of stress filaments. Cells adherent to rectangular shapes displayed a polarized cytoskeleton that increased with the aspect ratio of the shapes. Shapes that combined local geometric cues, by way of concave or convex edges, with aspect ratio were used to understand the additive effects of shape on polarization. The dependence of cell polarity on shape was determined in the presence of small molecules that alter actomyosin contractility and revealed a stronger dependence on contractility for shapes having straight edges, in contrast to those having curved edges. This study demonstrates that the cytoskeleton modulates cell polarity in response to multiple geometric cues in the extracellular environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-852
Number of pages12
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Geometric cues
  • Lamellipodia
  • Micropatterning
  • Stress fibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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