Cells and Materials


This study addresses the mechanism of the chirally-restricted, ROD-independent adhesion of A6 epithelial cells to the {011} faces of calcium {R,R)-tartrate tetrahydrate crystals. The extensive and rapid adhesion of the cells to these surfaces, in the presence or absence of serum proteins, is distinctly different from the extracellular matrix-mediated adhesion to conventional tissue culture surfaces or to the {101} faces of the same crystals. The differences are manifested by insensitivity to ATP depletion, to disruption of microfilaments and microtubules and even to formaldehyde fixation of the cells. Furthermore, trypsin pretreatment does not affect cell attachment to the {011} faces, nor does trypsin post-treatment cause cell detachment from the crystals. We also noticed that the rapid adhesion to the crystal surface bears several lines of similarity to the early temporal stages in cell adhesion to regular tissue culture surfaces. Based on these observations and additional theoretical considerations, it is proposed that ·the molecular interactions responsible for the cell adhesion to the {011} surfaces may serve as models for an early "engagement" stage in cell adhesion which precedes, and may be essential for, the formation of stable and long-term contacts.