Regulation of keratinocyte signaling and function via changes in epidermal growth factor presentation
Motivated by the need for bioactive materials that can accelerate dermal wound healing, this work describes the responses of keratinocytes to covalently immobilized epidermal growth factor (EGF) and how differences in the physical presentation of this growth factor affect cell function. Specifically, human keratinocytes were cultured with EGF delivered in soluble form, immobilized in a homogeneous pattern or immobilized in a gradient pattern, followed by analysis of cellular signaling, proliferation and migration. By changing the manner in which EGF was presented, keratinocyte behavior was dramatically altered. Keratinocytes responded to immobilized EGF patterns with high EGF receptor (EGFR) but low ERK1/2 and Akt phosphorylation, accompanied by low proliferation, high migratory activity and coordinated cell alignment. In contrast, keratinocytes treated with soluble EGF experienced lower EGFR but higher ERK1/2 and Akt phosphorylation and displayed a highly proliferative, rather than migratory, phenotype. Keratinocytes also responded to differences in immobilized EGF patterns, as migration was fastest upon immobilized gradients of EGF. A better understanding the interaction of cells with soluble vs. immobilized growth factors can help elucidate native healing events and achieve greater control over cell function, which may be useful in the development of wound repair treatments for many types of tissues.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 6, Issue 9, September 2010, Pages 3415–3425