Photo-Activatable Surfaces for Cell Migration Assays



A simple material platform for advanced cell migration studies is presented. It relies on surfaces modified with photo-activatable adhesion peptides and two light exposure steps to independently trigger attachment and migration. The light-controlled exposure of adhesive ligands allows precise and selective control over integrin-mediated adhesion and migration events, including their dynamic variation. By using a microscope-coupled scanning laser, user-defined geometry, size and composition of the adhesion and migration spaces are possible and simply defined by the laser scanning parameters. Time lapse and high resolution microscopy are possible during the complete process. The miniaturization capabilities of this assay also allow (i) parallel or sequential migration experiments and controls on the same view field of the microscope, (ii) migration studies in confined and unconventional geometries or (iii) activation of migration spaces at subcellular resolution, all of these with minimum material and time consumption. The photo-activatable surfaces will allow studies of the dynamics of integrin-dependent migration processes with unprecedented flexibility, multiplexing, reproducibility, and spatiotemporal resolution.