Cell adhesion to extracellular matrices is critical to numerous cellular functions and is primarily mediated by integrin receptors. Binding and aggregation of integrins leads to the formation of focal adhesions (FA) which connect the cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix in order to reinforce adhesion and transmit signals [1]. Preliminary observations indicated preferential recruitment of FAs to the periphery of the cell spreading area on both uniformly coated and micropatterned fibronectin surfaces (Fig. 1). The current study investigates the biophysical regulation of cell adhesion strength based on the size and position of FA with the central hypothesis that peripheral FAs stabilize adhesion strength. The hypothesis was tested by delineating the cell spreading area from the total cell adhesive area by employing microcontact printing to pattern substrates with a series of circular and annular adhesive islands which control cell shape (Fig. 2). A well characterized hydrodynamic shear assay known as the spinning disk device was used to quantify the adhesion strength of cells adhered to the micropatterns [2].

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