Undoubtedly cells can perceive the external environment, not only from a biochemical point of view with the related signalling pathways, but also from a physical and topographical perspective. In this sense controlled three dimensional micro-structures as well as patterns at the nano-scale can affect and guide the cell evolution and proliferation, due to the fact that the surrounding environment is no longer isotropic (like the flat surfaces of standard cell culturing) but possesses well defined symmetries and anisotropies. In this work regular arrays of silicon micro-pillars with hexagonal arrangement are used as culturing substrates for MCF-7 breast cancer cells. The characteristic size and spacing of the pillars are tens of microns, comparable with MCF-7 cell dimensions and then well suited to induce acceptable external stimuli. It is shown that these cells strongly modify their morphology for adapting themselves to the micro-structured landscape, by means of protrusions from the main body of the cell. Scanning electron microscopy along with both Raman micro-spectroscopy and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy are used for topographical and biochemical studies of the new cell arrangement. We have revealed that single MCF-7 cells exploit their capability to produce invadopodia, usually generated to invade the neighboring tissue in metastatic activity, for spanning and growing across separate pillars. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering