Tissue matrix arrays for high-throughput screening and systems analysis of cell function

Nat Methods. 2015 Dec;12(12):1197-204. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.3619. Epub 2015 Oct 19.


Cell and protein arrays have demonstrated remarkable utility in the high-throughput evaluation of biological responses; however, they lack the complexity of native tissue and organs. Here we spotted tissue extracellular matrix (ECM) particles as two-dimensional (2D) arrays or incorporated them with cells to generate three-dimensional (3D) cell-matrix microtissue arrays. We then investigated the responses of human stem, cancer and immune cells to tissue ECM arrays originating from 11 different tissues. We validated the 2D and 3D arrays as representative of the in vivo microenvironment by means of quantitative analysis of tissue-specific cellular responses, including matrix production, adhesion and proliferation, and morphological changes after culture. The biological outputs correlated with tissue proteomics, and network analysis identified several proteins linked to cell function. Our methodology enables broad screening of ECMs to connect tissue-specific composition with biological activity, providing a new resource for biomaterials research and further understanding of regeneration and disease mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / ultrastructure
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Organ Specificity
  • Proteome / chemistry*
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Swine


  • Proteome