Exploring the formation of focal adhesions on patterned surfaces using super-resolution imaging

Fan Ching Chien, Chiung Wen Kuo, Zong Han Yang, Di Yen Chueh, Peilin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The formation of focal adhesions on various sizes of fibronectin patterns, ranging from 200 μm to 250 nm, was systematically investigated by total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and super-resolution imaging. It was found that cells adhered to and spread on these micro/nanopatterns, forming focal adhesions. On a micrometer scale the shape of the focal adhesions was elongated. However, on the nanometer scale, the shape of focal adhesions became dotlike. To further explore the distribution of focal adhesion proteins formed on surfaces, a localization-based super-resolution imaging technique was employed in order to determine the position and density of vinculin proteins. A characteristic distance of 50 nm was found between vinculin molecules in the focal adhesions, which did not depend on the size of the fibronectin nanopatterns. This distance was found to be crucial for the formation of focal adhesions. In addition, the density of vinculin at the focal adhesions formed on the nanopatterns increased as the pattern size decreased. The density of the protein was found to be 425 ± 247, 584 ± 302, and 703 ± 305 proteins μm -2 on the 600, 400, and 250 nm fibronectin patterns respectively. Whereas 226 ± 77 proteins μm -2 was measured for the matured focal adhesions on homogeneous fibronectin coated substrates. The increase in vinculin density implies that an increase in mechanical load was applied to the focal adhesions formed on the smaller nanopatterns. Formation of focal adhesions on nanopatterned surfaces is investigated by super-resolution imaging. There exists a characteristic distance of 50 nm between vinculin molecules in focal adhesion, which is independent of pattern size. The density of vinculin molecules on nanopatterns increases as the pattern size decreases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2906-2913
Number of pages8
Issue number20
StatePublished - 17 Oct 2011


  • cell adhesion
  • imaging
  • nanolithography
  • patterning
  • superresolution


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the formation of focal adhesions on patterned surfaces using super-resolution imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this