Nano-topography: Quicksand for cell cycle progression?

Marianna Giannini, Chiara Primerano, Liron Berger, Martina Giannaccini, Zhigang Wang, Elena Landi, Alfred Cuschieri, Luciana Dente, Giovanni Signore, Vittoria Raffa (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
248 Downloads (Pure)


The 3-D spatial and mechanical features of nano-topography can create alternative environments, which influence cellular response. In this paper, murine fibroblast cells were grown on surfaces characterized by protruding nanotubes. Cells cultured on such nano-structured surface exhibit stronger cellular adhesion compared to control groups, but despite the fact that stronger adhesion is generally believed to promote cell cycle progression, the time cells spend in G1 phase is doubled. This apparent contradiction is solved by confocal microscopy analysis, which shows that the nano-topography inhibits actin stress fiber formation. In turn, this impairs RhoA activation, which is required to suppress the inhibition of cell cycle progression imposed by p21/p27. This finding suggests that the generation of stress fibers, required to impose the homeostatic intracellular tension, rather than cell adhesion/spreading is the limiting factor for cell cycle progression. Indeed, nano-topography could represent a unique tool to inhibit proliferation in adherent well-spread cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2656-2665
Number of pages10
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date19 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Cell cyle
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Nano-topography
  • RhoA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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