Self-assembled monolayers of omega-functional silanes: A platform for understanding cellular adhesion at the molecular level

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Self-assembled monolayer (SAM)
cell adhesion
model surface
spinning disc assay
non-specific effect
fibronectin
RGD
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Self-assembly represents a powerful and versatile strategy to create substrates with controlled molecular-level physicochemical characteristics. As a result, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of silanes continue to find use in a multitude of applications in biotechnology and nanotechnology, both as model substrates to study interfacial interactions and as a strategy to chemically graft bioactive molecules. In our work, SAMs of various functional groups have been used for fundamental studies of cellular interactions with peptides and proteins. Namely, cellular adhesion was quantitatively probed to elucidate the roles of non-specific forces arising from the substrate and to study the specific interactions of cellular receptors with adsorbed extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, such as fibronectin, and grafted arginine–glycine–aspartic acid (RGD) peptides. Measurements of the cellular detachment strength using a spinning disc apparatus demonstrated that the terminal functionality of the silane SAM used as the substrate exerted significant effects and highlighted the importance of substrate selection in biological applications. Quantitative comparison of the various cellular interactions demonstrated that non-specific interactions can be much larger in magnitude than peptide- and protein-mediated adhesion. As adhesion is the first step in a cascade of events through which cellular interaction with a material surface occurs, this finding has implications on assays of long-term cellular function as well. The insight provided by these studies should help in the development of optimized protein and peptide microarrays, or biochips, as well as better bioactive materials for biomaterial/tissue engineering applications.

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2007-01-01
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Postprint version. Reprinted from Silanes and Other Coupling Agents, Volume 4, edited by K.L. Mittal (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2007), pages 1-16. Publisher URL: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=18πd=25965
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