Article ID: 19040
Cellular durotaxis has been extensively studied in the field of mechanobiology. In principle, asymmetric mechanical field of a stiffness gradient generates motile polarity in a cell, which is a driving factor of durotaxis. However, the actual process by which the motile polarity in durotaxis develops is still unclear. In this study, to clarify the details of the kinetics of the development of durotactic polarity, we investigated the dynamics of both cell-shaping and the microscopic turnover of focal adhesions (FAs) for Venus-paxillin-expressing fibroblasts just crossing an elasticity boundary prepared on microelastically patterned gels. The Fourier mode analysis of cell-shaping based on a persistent random deformation model revealed that motile polarity at a cell-body scale was established within the first few hours after the leading edges of a moving cell passed through the boundary from the soft to the stiff regions. A fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) analysis showed that the mobile fractions of paxillin at FAs in the anterior part of the cells exhibited an asymmetric increase within several tens of minutes after cells entered the stiff region. The results demonstrated that motile polarity in durotactic cells is established through the hierarchical step-wise development of different types of asymmetricity in the kinetics of FAs activity and cell-shaping with a several-hour time lag.
Key words: Microelasticity patterned gel, durotaxis, cell polarity, focal adhesions, paxillin