Control of cell adhesion is a key technology for cell-based drug screening and for analyses of cellular processes. We developed a method to spatiotemporally control cell adhesion using a photochemical reaction. We prepared a cell-culturing substrate by modifying the surface of a glass coverslip with a self-assembled monolayer of an alkylsiloxane having a photocleavable 2-nitrobenzyl group. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) was adsorbed onto the substrate to make the surface inert to cell adhesion. When exposed to UV light, the alkylsiloxane underwent a photocleavage reaction, leading to the release of BSA from the surface. Fibronectin, a protein promoting cell adhesion, was added to cover the irradiated regions and made them cell-adhesive. Seeding of cells on this substrate resulted in their selective adhesion to the illuminated regions. By controlling the sizes of the illuminated regions, we formed cell-adhesive spots smaller than single cells and located focal adhesions of the cells. Moreover, by subsequently illuminating the region alongside the cells patterned on the substrate in advance, we released their geometrical confinements and induced migration and proliferation. These manipulations were conducted under a conventional fluorescence microscope without any additional instruments. The present method of cell manipulation will be useful for cell biological studies as well as for the formation of cell arrays.
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