Cells are known to sense and respond to mechanical stimulations. The fact shows that there are some cellular mechanosensors for mechanical stimulations. One of the candidates of the mechanosensors is focal adhesions which are large macromolecular assemblies via which mechanical force and regulatory signals may be transmitted between the extracellular matrix and an interacting cell. Although it is quite important to clarify the mechanism of sensing and responding to the mechanical vibration via focal adhesions, there was no micro device applying time-varied mechanical loading to a single focal adhesion of the order of a micrometer. In order to solve the challenging issue, we developed a magnetic micropillar substrate which is able to apply cyclic strain to focal adhesions of a cell. Using the substrate, we investigated how a single osteoblast-like cell changed the direction of migration on micropillars cyclically deflected at 5 Hz and revealed the relationship between the cell migration and the traction force. The experimental results indicate that a cell may sense the cyclic strain and reduce the traction force which is not enough to move the cell body forward leading to changing the migration direction toward the place without cyclic strain.

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