Unleashing Cancer Cells on Surfaces Exposing Motogenic IGDQ Peptides

Valentina Corvaglia, Riccardo Marega, Federica De Leo, Carine Michiels, Davide Bonifazi

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Thiolated peptides bearing the Ile-Gly-Asp (IGD) motif, a highly conserved sequence of fibronectin, are used for the preparation of anisotropic self-assembled monolayers (SAM gradients) to study the whole-population migratory behavior of metastatic breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231 cells). Ile-Gly-Asp-Gln-(IGDQ)-exposing SAMs sustain the adhesion of MDA-MB-231 cells by triggering focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation, similarly to the analogous Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-(GRGD)-terminating surfaces. However, the biological responses of different cell lines interfaced with the SAM gradients show that only those exposing the IGDQ sequence induce significant migration of MDA-MB-231 cells. In particular, the observed migratory behavior suggests the presence of cell subpopulations associated with a "stationary" or a "migratory" phenotype, the latter determining a considerable cell migration at the sub-cm length scale. These findings are of great importance as they suggest for the first time an active role of biological surfaces exposing the IGD motif in the multicomponent orchestration of cellular signaling involved in the metastatic progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-329
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Cancer cells
  • Cell migration
  • Chemical gradients
  • IGD motifs
  • Peptide SAMs


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