The glycocalyx affects the mechanotransductive perception of the topographical microenvironment

Matteo Chighizola, Tania Dini, Stefania Marcotti, Mirko D'Urso, Claudio Piazzoni, Francesca Borghi, Anita Previdi, Laura Ceriani, Claudia Folliero, Brian Stramer, Cristina Lenardi, Paolo Milani, Alessandro Podestà, Carsten Schulte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The cell/microenvironment interface is the starting point of integrin-mediated mechanotransduction, but many details of mechanotransductive signal integration remain elusive due to the complexity of the involved (extra)cellular structures, such as the glycocalyx. We used nano-bio-interfaces reproducing the complex nanotopographical features of the extracellular matrix to analyse the glycocalyx impact on PC12 cell mechanosensing at the nanoscale (e.g., by force spectroscopy with functionalised probes). Our data demonstrates that the glycocalyx configuration affects spatio-temporal nanotopography-sensitive mechanotransductive events at the cell/microenvironment interface. Opposing effects of major glycocalyx removal were observed, when comparing flat and specific nanotopographical conditions. The excessive retrograde actin flow speed and force loading are strongly reduced on certain nanotopographies upon strong reduction of the native glycocalyx, while on the flat substrate we observe the opposite trend. Our results highlight the importance of the glycocalyx configuration in a molecular clutch force loading-dependent cellular mechanism for mechanosensing of microenvironmental nanotopographical features. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number418
JournalJournal of Nanobiotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2022


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