Angiogenesis, an essential but often pathological biological process, requires complex cellular coordination. This coordination is achieved through numerous extracellular signals. We investigated the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) protein fibronectin in the support of angiogenesis and endothelial cell motility. The directed migration in response to increasing concentration of ECM proteins is termed haptotaxis. We created a preliminary, two-dimensional model of the haptotactic motility of endothelial cells using a step change in fibronectin density as a substrate. Bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) exhibited directional motility towards the higher fibronectin concentration side. In addition, the physical and mechanical properties of BAECs varied in response to fibronectin concentration. Higher fibronectin concentrations led to decreased cell motility and increased adherence. Our studies also examined the properties of the actin cytoskeleton and the focal adhesion scaffold protein paxillin during this haptotactic migration. These studies and the two-dimensional model will serve as a baseline for future analysis of the haptotactic motility of angiogenic endothelial cells.
Bennett, Breana E., "The Haptotactic Motility of Angiogenic Endothelial Cells" (2012). Honors College. 39.