Indexed on: 06 Sep '18Published on: 06 Sep '18Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society
Muscle cells sense the mechanical properties of their microenvironment, and these properties can change in response to injury or disease. Hydrogels with dynamic material properties can be used to study the effect of such varying mechanical signals. Here, we report the ability of azadibenzocyclooctyne (DBCO) to undergo a cytocompatible, photoinitiated crosslinking reaction. This reaction is exploited as a strategy for on-demand stiffening of three-dimensional cell scaffolds formed through an initial strain-promoted azide alkyne cycloaddition. Myoblasts encapsulated in these networks respond to increased matrix stiffness through decreased cell spreading and nuclear localization of Yes-associated protein 1 (YAP). However, when the photocrosslinking reaction is delayed to allow cell spreading, elongated myoblasts display increased YAP nuclear localization.