Effect of the conformation and orientation of adsorbed fibronectin on endothelial cell spreading and the strength of adhesion

Denise J. Iuliano, Steven S. Saavedra, George A. Truskey

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217 Scopus citations


The effect of surface hydrophobicity upon the conformation of the cell binding domain of fibronectin (Fn) and the influence of Fn conformation on bovine aortic endothelial cell (BAEC) adhesion were examined. The free sulfhydryl group of Fn located near the cell binding domain was selectively labeled with acrylodan, a polarity sensitive fluor. Fluorescence emission was monitored in solution and upon adsorption to hydrophilic glass and hydrophobic silanized glass. The acrylodan‐labeled Fn emission maximum shifted to longer wavelengths upon adsorption and the shift was greater for acrylodan‐labeled Fn adsorbed to hydrophilic glass than hydrophobic silane, suggesting that the acrylodan was in a more solvent accessible environment on glass than silane. BAEC, suspended in serum‐free medium, attached for 15 or 120 min onto glass or silane surfaces containing preadsorbed Fn, after which cell spreading and the strength of adhesion in a parallel plate flow chamber were measured. Cell spreading was similar on both surfaces after 15 min attachment, but BAECs were more spread on glass than silane after 120 min. At low surface concentrations of Fn, BAECs were more adherent on glass than silane. At higher surfaces concentrations, adhesion was similar. After a 2‐h incubation in serum‐free medium, cells on glass showed more extensive development of focal contacts as determined by immunofluorescent staining for vinculin. Cell adhesion under flow was reduced on silane by inhibition of protein synthesis with cycloheximide, suggesting that cell attachment to silane was promoted by cellular synthesis of Fn. The results indicate that changes in the conformation of the Fn cell binding domain affect Fn affinity for its cell surface receptor. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1113
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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