Association between Cell Microenvironment Altered by Gold Nanowire Array and Regulation of Partial Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition

Yu Jin Kim, Min Jun Ko, Bum Chul Park, Jun Hwan Moon, Yoo Sang Jeon, Hyeon Su Park, Myeong Soo Kim, Hee Dae Kim, Daiha Shin, Young Keun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Cell microenvironment is an essential factor in determining cell growth and cell fate. Many studies have been carried out to understand the functions and mechanisms of small molecules or growth factors/cytokines; however, the effects of the physical environment on cells are relatively unknown. Changes in the cell's physical microenvironment affect cell adhesion and modify intracellular signaling controlled by adhesion properties, resulting in altering the cytoskeletal structure and cellular properties. Herein, it is demonstrated that the changes in cell adhesion can affect the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of epithelial cells by implementing a cell microenvironment with a gold (Au) nanowire array to influence cell adhesion. A forcible decrease in cell adhesion leads to the downregulation of epithelial biomarkers and the upregulation of mesenchymal biomarkers. The results of force-distance experiments using atomic force microscopy showed that the overall stiffness of epithelial cells declined similarly to the case for mesenchymal-like cells. With this comprehensive analysis of cellular properties, a physical microenvironment for cell adhesion alteration is suggested, that can induce mesenchymal characteristics in both epithelial and mesenchymal cells through partial EMT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2008758
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 24

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Y.J.K. and M.J.K. contributed equally to this work. This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (2019R1A2C3006587 and 2017R1D1A1B03036100).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • cell microenvironment
  • cell stiffness
  • cytoskeletal remodeling
  • epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • gold nanowire array

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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