Self-Assembled Charged Hydrogels Control the Alignment of Filamentous Actin
Materials Science and Engineering
We demonstrate a novel route to control attachment of filamentous actin (F-actin) on hydrogel films. By incorporating an amine-terminated silane, the hydrogel surface charge and surface topography are varied. With increasing silane content, F-actin reorients from perpendicular to parallel to the hydrogel surface, ceases to wobble, and forms mainly elongated or cyclic structures. F-Actin coverage reaches a maximum at 2.5 vol% silane and declines at higher silane content. This biphasic behavior is explained by the simultaneous increase in surface charge and the self-assembly of a micron scale pattern of positively charged islands. Our approach provides guidelines for constructing nanoscale tracks to guide motor proteins underlying nano-engineered devices such as molecular shuttles.