Cells can mainly sense mechanical cues from the extracellular matrix via integrins. Because mechanical cues can strongly influence cellular functions, understanding the roles of integrins in the sensing of mechanical cues is a key for the achievement of tissue engineering. The analyses to determine the roles of integrins in the sensing of mechanical cues have been performed by many methods based on molecular- and cell-biological techniques, atomic force microscopy, and optical tweezers. Integrin-dependent cell adhesion substrates have been also used for this purpose. Additionally, the cells can adhere on several substrates via integrin-independent mechanisms. There are two types of integrin-independent cell adhesion substrates; 1) the substrates immobilized with ligands against the receptors on cell surface and 2) the substrates suppressing protein adsorption. Cells can exhibit specific functions on these substrates. Here, the examples of integrinindependent cell adhesion substrates were reviewed, and their possible applications in mechanobiology research are discussed.
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