Remote Control of Time-Regulated Stretching of Ligand-Presenting Nanocoils In Situ Regulates the Cyclic Adhesion and Differentiation of Stem Cells

Sunhong Min, Min Jun Ko, Hee Joon Jung, Wonsik Kim, Seong Beom Han, Yuri Kim, Gunhyu Bae, Sungkyu Lee, Ramar Thangam, Hyojun Choi, Na Li, Jeong Eun Shin, Yoo Sang Jeon, Hyeon Su Park, Yu Jin Kim, Uday Kumar Sukumar, Jae-Jun Song, Seung Keun Park, Seung Ho Yu, Yun Chan KangKi Bum Lee, Qiang Wei, Dong Hwee Kim, Seung Min Han, Ramasamy Paulmurugan, Young Keun Kim, Heemin Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Native extracellular matrix (ECM) can exhibit cyclic nanoscale stretching and shrinking of ligands to regulate complex cell–material interactions. Designing materials that allow cyclic control of changes in intrinsic ligand-presenting nanostructures in situ can emulate ECM dynamicity to regulate cellular adhesion. Unprecedented remote control of rapid, cyclic, and mechanical stretching (“ON”) and shrinking (“OFF”) of cell-adhesive RGD ligand-presenting magnetic nanocoils on a material surface in five repeated cycles are reported, thereby independently increasing and decreasing ligand pitch in nanocoils, respectively, without modulating ligand-presenting surface area per nanocoil. It is demonstrated that cyclic switching “ON” (ligand nanostretching) facilitates time-regulated integrin ligation, focal adhesion, spreading, YAP/TAZ mechanosensing, and differentiation of viable stem cells, both in vitro and in vivo. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging reveals magnetic switching “ON” (stretching) and “OFF” (shrinking) of the nanocoils inside animals. Versatile tuning of physical dimensions and elements of nanocoils by regulating electrodeposition conditions is also demonstrated. The study sheds novel insight into designing materials with connected ligand nanostructures that exhibit nanocoil-specific nano-spaced declustering, which is ineffective in nanowires, to facilitate cell adhesion. This unprecedented, independent, remote, and cytocompatible control of ligand nanopitch is promising for regulating the mechanosensing-mediated differentiation of stem cells in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2008353
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S.M., M.J.K., and H.J. contributed equally to this work. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. 2020R1C1C1011038 and 2019R1A2C3006587). HADDF‐STEM imaging was conducted with the support of Korea Basic Science Institute. This work was also supported by a Korea University Grant. This work made use of the EPIC facility of Northwestern University's NUANCE Center, which has received support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS‐1542205), the MRSEC IRG2 program (NSF DMR‐1720139) at the Materials Research Center, the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN), the Keck Foundation, and the State of Illinois, through the IIN. The passage 5 human mesenchymal stem cells used in this work were obtained from Lonza.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • in vivo cell adhesion
  • nanocoil pitch control
  • remote control
  • stem cell differentiation
  • time-regulated ligand stretching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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