The extracellular matrix (ECM) has been shown to be an important cellular component due to the structural support it provides. This extracellular component has been linked to wound healing, cell adhesion, blood coagulation, cell differentiation and migration, maintenance of the cellular cytoskeleton, and tumor metastasis. Many studies have investigated the effects of the ECM protein, fibronectin, and its assembly and structural organization through chemical stimulation, but few have probed its link to mechanics. As cells alter their extracellular environment through fibronectin modulation and secretion, we examined this link to examine how cells alter their extracellular environment in response to applied mechanical stress. These results indicate the importance of mechanics in fibronectin organization and have implications in a variety of fields including mechanotransduction, biophysics and bioengineering.

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