Overlooked? Underestimated? Effects of Substrate Curvature on Cell Behavior

Danielle Baptista, Liliana Teixeira, Clemens van Blitterswijk, Stefan Giselbrecht, R. Truckenmüller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


In biological systems, form and function are inherently correlated. Despite this strong interdependence, the biological effect of curvature has been largely overlooked or underestimated, and consequently it has rarely been considered in the design of new cell–material interfaces. This review summarizes current understanding of the interplay between the curvature of a cell substrate and the related morphological and functional cellular response. In this context, we also discuss what is currently known about how, in the process of such a response, cells recognize curvature and accordingly reshape their membrane. Beyond this, we highlight state-of-the-art microtechnologies for engineering curved biomaterials at cell-scale, and describe aspects that impair or improve readouts of the pure effect of curvature on cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838-854
Number of pages17
JournalTrends in biotechnology
Issue number8
Early online date16 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • (I-)BAR domain protein
  • cell membrane
  • cell polarity
  • curvature
  • in vitro models
  • microtechnology


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