UNIT 9.1 Cell-Substrate Adhesion Assays

  1. Martin J. Humphries

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471143030.cb0901s00

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

How to Cite

Humphries, M. J. 2001. Cell-Substrate Adhesion Assays. Current Protocols in Cell Biology. 00:9.1:9.1.1–9.1.11.

Author Information

  1. University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: OCT 1998


In the intact organism, cells adhere to a variety of substrates. It is possible to investigate the nature of the molecules to which cells adhere in two different assays. In the first protocol presented in this unit, physical adhesion of a cell is assessed by determining the extent to which the cell spreads on a defined substrate--the plate is coated with the test substance, cells are added and allowed time to attach and spread, and the extent of spreading is assessed using phase contrast microscopy. In a second assay, an aliquot of cells is added to the well of a microtiter plate coated with a test adhesion molecule and the cells are allowed to attach. Nonattached cells are removed, and the percent of added cells attached to the substrate is quantified by crystal violet staining.