Quantification of focal adhesion dynamics of cell movement based on cell-induced collagen matrix deformation using second-harmonic generation microscopy

Yong Guk Kang, Hwanseok Jang, Taeseok Daniel Yang, Jacob Notbohm, Youngwoon Choi, Yongdoo Park, Beop-Min Kim

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Mechanical interactions of living cells with the surrounding environment via focal adhesion (FA) in three dimensions (3-D) play a key role in dynamic biological events, such as tissue regeneration, wound healing, and cancer invasion. Recently, several methods for observing 3-D cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions have been reported, lacking solid and quantitative analysis on the dynamics of the physical interaction between the cell and the ECM. We measured the submicron displacements of ECM deformation in 3-D due to protrusion-retraction dynamics during cell migration, using second-harmonic generation without labeling the matrix structures. We then quantitatively analyzed the mechanical deformation between the ECM and the cells based on spatiotemporal volumetric correlations. The greatest deformations within the collagen matrix were found to occur at sites of colocalization of the FA site-related proteins vinculin and actin, which confirms that FA sites play a critical role in living cells within the ECM as a point for adhesion, traction, and migration. We believe that this modality can be used in studies of cell-ECM interaction during angiogenesis, wound healing, and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065001
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 1



  • cell migration
  • digital volume correlation
  • focal adhesion
  • matrix deformation
  • second-harmonic generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering

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