Effect of receptor-ligand affinity on the strength of endothelial cell adhesion.
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of receptor-ligand affinity on the strength of endothelial cell adhesion. Linear and cyclic forms of the fibronectin (Fn) cell-binding domain peptide Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) were covalently immobilized to glass, and Fn was adsorbed onto glass slides. Bovine aortic endothelial cells attached to the surfaces for 15 min. The critical wall shear stress at which 50% of the cells detached increased nonlinearly with ligand density and was greater with immobilized cyclic RGD than with immobilized linear RGD or adsorbed Fn. To directly compare results for the different ligand densities, the receptor-ligand dissociation constant and force per bond were estimated from data for the critical shear stress and contact area. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy was used to measure the contact area as a function of separation distance. Contact area increased with increasing ligand density. Contact areas were similar for the immobilized peptides but were greater on surfaces with adsorbed Fn. The dissociation constant was determined by nonlinear regression of the net force on the cells to models that assumed that bonds were either uniformly stressed or that only bonds on the periphery of the contact region were stressed (peeling model). Both models provided equally good fits for cells attached to immobilized peptides whereas the peeling model produced a better fit of data for cells attached to adsorbed Fn. Cyclic RGD and linear RGD both bind to the integrin alpha v beta 3, but immobilized cyclic RGD exhibited a greater affinity than did linear RGD. Receptor affinities of Fn adsorbed to glycophase glass and Fn adsorbed to glass were similar. The number of bonds was calculated assuming binding equilibrium. The peeling model produced good linear fits between bond force and number of bonds. Results of this study indicate that 1) bovine aortic endothelial cells are more adherent on immobilized cyclic RGD peptide than linear RGD or adsorbed Fn, 2) increased adhesion is due to a greater affinity between cyclic RGD and its receptor, and 3) the affinity of RGD peptides and adsorbed Fn for their receptors is increased after immobilization.
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