The formation of new vasculature is an essential process, but can also be utilized by cancerous cells. Angiogenesis requires the directed migration of the endothelial cells lining the nascent blood vessels. This process is largely mediated by integrin, which plays a key role in the interplay between sensing a force in the extracellular matrix (ECM) and transducing this signal, a process termed mechanotransduction. Through cell-ECM focal adhesions, integrin mediates the signaling both into and out of the cell, promoting growth of focal adhesions and subsequent cell spreading and migration. In order to study focal adhesion dynamics related to force, we observed cells on three different substrates: polyacrylamide gels, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) micro pillars, and polyacrylamide gels containing fluorescent beads. The mobility of integrin on the different substrates was assessed using fluorescent recovery after photo-bleaching (FRAP) and analyzed along with cell traction force measurements. These studies serve to further the understanding of our knowledge of integrin and its role in mechanotransduction and migration. It will, therefore, aid in the advancement of both tissue engineering and cancer treatment research.
MacDowell, Jennifer, "A Novel Mechanism for Mechanosensing by Endothelial Cells" (2013). Honors College. 135.