Nanofiber curvature with Rho GTPase activity increases mouse embryonic fibroblast random migration velocity

Daniel T. Bowers, Justin L. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Mechanotransduction arises from information encoded in the shape of materials such as curvature. It induces activation of small GTPase signaling affecting cell phenotypes including differentiation. We carried out a set of preliminary experiments to test the hypothesis that curvature (1/radius) would also affect cell motility due to signal pathway crosstalk. High molecular weight poly (methyl methacrylate) straight nanofibers were electrospun with curvature ranging from 41 to 1 μm−1 and collected on a passivated glass substrate. The fiber curvature increased mouse mesenchymal stem cell aspect ratio (P < 0.02) and decreased cell area (P < 0.01). Despite little effect on some motility patterns such as polarity and persistence, we found selected fiber curvatures can increase normalized random fibroblastic mouse embryonic cell (MEF) migration velocity close to 2.5 times compared with a f lat surface (P < 0.001). A maximum in the velocity curve occurred near 2.5 μm−1 and may vary with the time since initiation of attachment to the surface (range of 0–20 h). In the middle range of fiber curvatures, the relative relationship to curvature was similar regardless of treatment with Rho-kinase inhibitor (Y27632) or cdc42 inhibitor (ML141), although it was decreased on most curvatures (P < 0.05). However, below a critical curvature threshold MEFs may not be able to distinguish shallow curvature from a f lat surface, while still being affected by contact guidance. The preliminary data in this manuscript suggested the large low curvature fibers were interpreted in a manner similar to a non-curved surface. Thus, curvature is a biomaterial construct design parameter that should be considered when specific biological responses are desired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-308
Number of pages14
JournalIntegrative Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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