Daten zum Projekt

Mechanotunable protein networks with switchable biological activities

Initiative: Komplexe Materialien (beendet)
Bewilligung: 10.07.2006
Laufzeit: 3 Jahre


Materials scientists can learn a great deal from the mechanisms whereby cells construct their own environment. Recent studies have shown that cell-matrix interaction is regulated not only by the specific multi-protein composition of the matrix but also by its mechanical properties. These studies demonstrated that adhesion-mediated signaling and the subsequent molecular interactions at the cytoplasmic faces of adhesion sites can be switched on or off by mechanical stress. The mechanisms underlying the transduction of mechanochemical and structural information via the protein networks of the extracellular matrix are poorly understood, yet a detailed understanding of such a system can lead to the development of new design principles for cellular environments and the elucidation of adhesion-mediated signaling principles. The goal of this proposal is to engineer new materials consisting of fibronectin, collagen or mixed fibronectin/collagen networks that can be switched to different functional states regarding cell regulation by mechanical force. The proposed research is the first attempt to design and construct mechanically tunable adhesive matrices with synthetic/biological hybrid building blocks resulting in a material that actively modulates cell functions by changing their adhesive and signaling properties.


  • Prof. Dr. Joachim Spatz

    Universität Heidelberg
    Neue Materialien und Biosysteme

  • Prof. Dr. Viola Vogel-Scheidemann

    Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule
    Department of Materials
    Laboratory for Biologically
    Oriented Materials

  • Prof. Benjamin Geiger, Ph.D.

    The Weizmann Institute of Science
    Faculty of Biology
    Department of Immunology
    Wolfson Building

  • Prof. Dr. Michael Sheetz

    Columbia University in the
    City of New York
    Department of Biological Sciences
    Sherman Fairchild Center, Rm. 713
    New York, NY