Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 273–288 | Cite as

Initial cell adhesion of three cell types in the presence and absence of serum proteins

  • Martina VerdanovaEmail author
  • Pavla Sauerova
  • Ute Hempel
  • Marie Hubalek Kalbacova
Original Paper


With the development of a wide range of new biomaterials for the sensing of different cell behaviour, it is important to consider whether the cells tested in vitro are in direct contact with the material or whether cell–biomaterial contact is mediated by an interfacial layer of proteins originating from the culture medium or from the cells themselves. Thus, this study describes the differences between the cell adhesion mediated by proteins originating from foetal bovine serum and without the presence of such proteins 2 h following cell seeding exemplarily with different cell types (an osteoblastic cell line, primary fibroblasts, and mesenchymal stem cells). Three of the examined cell types were found to react differently to differing conditions in terms of cell shape, area, and number. Nevertheless, the expression and localization of the various proteins involved in cell adhesion and signalling (CD44, vinculin, talin, actin, focal adhesion kinase, Rho-GTPases and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2) were, in general, similar with respect to all the cell types tested, albeit varying according to the presence or absence of serum. Moreover, no classical focal adhesions were formed during cell adhesion without serum proteins, while different signalling pathways were involved in this process. The study systematically describes and discusses the cell adhesion of three different human cell types to a well-known substrate without the presence of external proteins and it is hoped that this knowledge will be subsequently applied in biomaterial applications in which the presence of external proteins is undesirable (e.g. for biosensing purposes).


Cell adhesion Foetal bovine serum Fluorescence microscopy Protein expression Cell signalling 



This study was supported by: Charles University in Prague, First Faculty of Medicine: project PROGRES Q26, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen: project SVV 260 390 and GAUK 400215; further by the National Sustainability Program I (NPU I) Nr. LO1503 provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and project 15-25813A-AZV CR. Special thanks go to Blanka Bilkova for her technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Verdanova
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Pavla Sauerova
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ute Hempel
    • 4
  • Marie Hubalek Kalbacova
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Inherited Metabolic Disorders, 1st Faculty of MedicineCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Genetics and Microbiology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  3. 3.Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine in PilsenCharles University in PraguePilsenCzech Republic
  4. 4.Institute of Physiological Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav CarusTechnical University DresdenDresdenGermany

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