Exploiting the superior protein resistance of polymer brushes to control single cell adhesion and polarisation at the micron scale.
ABSTRACT: The control of the cell microenvironment on model patterned substrates allows the systematic study of cell biology in well defined conditions, potentially using automated systems. The extreme protein resistance of poly(oligo(ethylene glycol methacrylate)) (POEGMA) brushes is exploited to achieve high fidelity patterning of single cells. These coatings can be patterned by soft lithography on large areas (a microscope slide) and scale (substrates were typically prepared in batches of 200). The present protocol relies on the adsorption of extra-cellular matrix (ECM) proteins on unprotected areas using simple incubation and washing steps. The stability of POEGMA brushes, as examined via ellipsometry and SPR, is found to be excellent, both during storage and cell culture. The impact of substrate treatment, brush thickness and incubation protocol on ECM deposition, both for ultra-thin gold and glass substrates, is investigated via fluorescence microscopy and AFM. Optimised conditions result in high quality ECM patterns at the micron scale, even on glass substrates, that are suitable for controlling cell spreading and polarisation. These patterns are compatible with state-of-the-art technologies (fluorescence microscopy, FRET) used for live cell imaging. This technology, combined with single cell analysis methods, provides a platform for exploring the mechanisms that regulate cell behaviour.
Project description:The data presented in this article affords insight into the fabrication and ensuing microstructure of the supported porous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) and TiO2-nanotubes (NT) films that are used for the subsequent grafting of antifouling poly(oligo ethyleneglycol) methylether methacrylate (POEGMA) and poly acrylamide (PAAm) brushes. The experimental procedure for the grafting of POEGMA and PAAm via atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) is described in Wassel et al. (2019) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2018.107542 . The FTIR spectra of the porous oxides before and after attachment of (3-Aminopropyl)trimethoxysilane (APTMS) are presented. Microscopic images of thick POEGMA films and PAAm on AAO are displayed, and an FTIR spectrum of AAO/PAAm is shown. An EDX mapping of carbon is shown on an AAO/POEGMA sample. The adsorption behavior of Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) marked bovine serum albumin (BSA) on patterned porous TiO2-NT films is documented. Finally microscopic images are presented to compare the scratch resistance behavior of pristine porous films with those functionalized with POEGMA.
Project description:Binary brush structures consisting of poly(cysteine methacrylate) (PCysMA) "corrals" enclosed within poly(oligoethylene glycol methyl ether methacrylate) (POEGMA) "walls" are fabricated simply and efficiently using a two-step photochemical process. First, the C-Cl bonds of 4-(chloromethyl)phenylsilane monolayers are selectively converted into carboxylic acid groups by patterned exposure to UV light through a mask and POEGMA is grown from unmodified chlorinated regions by surface-initiated atom-transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP). Incorporation of a ratiometric fluorescent pH indicator, Nile Blue 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl carbamate (NBC), into the polymer brushes facilitates assessment of local changes in pH using a confocal laser scanning microscope with spectral resolution capability. Moreover, the dye label acts as a radical spin trap, enabling removal of halogen end-groups from the brushes via in situ dye addition during the polymerisation process. Second, an initiator is attached to the carboxylic acid-functionalised regions formed by UV photolysis in the patterning step, enabling growth of PCysMA brushes by ATRP. Transfer of the system to THF, a poor solvent for PCysMA, causes collapse of the PCysMA brushes. At the interface between the collapsed brush and solvent, selective derivatisation of amine groups is achieved by reaction with excess glutaraldehyde, facilitating attachment of aminobutyl(nitrile triacetic acid) (NTA). The PCysMA brush collapse is reversed on transfer to water, leaving it fully expanded but only functionalized at the brush-water interface. Following complexation of NTA with Ni2+, attachment of histidine-tagged proteorhodopsin and lipid deposition, light-activated transport of protons into the brush structure is demonstrated by measuring the ratiometric response of NBC in the POEGMA walls.
Project description:We develop a scaling model relating the friction forces between two polyelectrolyte brushes sliding over each other to the separation between grafted surfaces, number of monomers and charges per chain, grafting density of chains, and solvent quality. We demonstrate that the lateral force between brushes increases upon compression, but to a lesser extent than the normal force. The shear stress at larger separations is due to solvent slip layer friction. The thickness of this slip layer sharply decreases at distances on the order of undeformed brush thickness. The corresponding effective viscosity of the layer sharply increases from the solvent viscosity to a much higher value, but this increase is smaller than the jump of the normal force resulting in the drop of the friction coefficient. At stronger compression we predict the second sharp increase of the shear stress corresponding to interpenetration of the chains from the opposite brushes. In this regime the velocity-dependent friction coefficient between two partially interpenetrating polyelectrolyte brushes does not depend on the distance between substrates because both normal and shear forces are reciprocally proportional to the plate separation. Although lateral forces between polyelectrolyte brushes are larger than between bare surfaces, the enhancement of normal forces between opposing polyelectrolyte brushes with respect to normal forces between bare charged surfaces is much stronger resulting in lower friction coefficient. The model quantitatively demonstrates how polyelectrolyte brushes provide more effective lubrication than bare charged surfaces or neutral brushes.
Project description:Whereas nanobubble stability on solid surfaces is thought to be based on local surface structure, in this work, we show that nanobubble stability on polymer brushes does not appear to require contact-line pinning. Glass surfaces were functionalized with copolymer brushes containing mixtures of hydrophobic and hydrophilic segments, exhibiting water contact angles ranging from 10 to 75°. On unmodified glass, dissolution and redeposition of nanobubbles resulted in reformation in mostly the same locations, consistent with the contact line pinning hypothesis. However, on polymer brushes, the nucleation sites were random, and nanobubbles formed in new locations upon redeposition. Moreover, the presence of stable nanobubbles was correlated with global surface wettability, as opposed to local structure, when the surface exceeded a critical water contact angle of 50 or 60° for polymers containing carboxyl or sulfobetaine groups, respectively, as hydrophilic side chains. The critical contact angles were insensitive to the identity of the hydrophobic segments.
Project description:Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), a linear polymer known for its "stealth" properties, is commonly used to passivate the surface of biomedical implants and devices, and it is conjugated to biologic drugs to improve their pharmacokinetics. However, its antigenicity is a growing concern. Here, the antigenicity of PEG is investigated when assembled in a poly(oligoethylene glycol) methacrylate (POEGMA) "bottlebrush" configuration on a planar surface. Using ethylene glycol (EG) repeat lengths of the POEGMA sidechains as a tunable parameter for optimization, POEGMA brushes with sidechain lengths of two and three EG repeats are identified as the optimal polymer architecture to minimize binding of anti-PEG antibodies (APAs), while retaining resistance to nonspecific binding by bovine serum albumin and cultured cells. Binding of backbone- versus endgroup-selective APAs to POEGMA brushes is further investigated, and finally the antigenicity of POEGMA coatings is assessed against APA-positive clinical plasma samples. These results are applied toward fabricating immunoassays on POEGMA surfaces with minimal reactivity toward APAs while retaining a low limit-of-detection for the analyte. Taken together, these results offer useful design concepts to reduce the antigenicity of polymer brush-based surface coatings used in applications involving human or animal matrices.
Project description:Precise synthesis of polymer brushes to modify the surface of nanoparticles and nanodevices for targeted applications has been one of the major focuses in the community for decades. Here we report a self-assembly-assisted-grafting-to approach to synthesize polymer brushes on flat substrates. In this method, polymers are pre-assembled into two-dimensional polymer single crystals (PSCs) with functional groups on the surface. Chemically coupling the PSCs onto solid substrates leads to the formation of polymer brushes. Exquisite control of the chain folding in PSCs allows us to obtain polymer brushes with well-defined grafting density, tethering points and brush conformation. Extremely high grafting density (2.12 chains per nm(2)) has been achieved in the synthesized single-tethered polymer brushes. Moreover, polymer loop brushes have been successfully obtained using oddly folded PSCs from telechelic chains. Our approach combines some of the important advantages of conventional 'grafting-to' and 'grafting-from' methods, and is promising for tailored synthesis of polymer brushes.
Project description:Porous membranes with glycopolymer brushes were prepared as biomaterials for affinity separation. Glycopolymer brushes contained acrylic acid and D-mannose or N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and were formed on substrates by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization. The presence of glycopolymer brush was confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, contact angle, and ellipsometry measurements. The interaction between lectin and the glycopolymer immobilized on glass slides was confirmed using fluorescent-labeled proteins. Glycopolymer-immobilized surfaces exhibited specific adsorption of the corresponding lectin, compared with bovine serum albumin. Lectins were continuously rejected by the glycopolymer-immobilized membranes. When the protein solution was permeated through the glycopolymer-immobilized membrane, bovine serum albumin was not adsorbed on the membrane surface. In contrast, concanavalin A and wheat germ agglutinin were rejected by membranes incorporating D-mannose or N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, respectively. The amounts of adsorbed concanavalin A and wheat germ agglutinin was increased five- and two-fold that of adsorbed bovine serum albumin, respectively.
Project description:Sub-micrometer/nanoscale patterned polymer brushes are prepared by employing cucurbituril (CB) as a supramolecular recognition motif to assemble functional silica colloids onto Au surfaces as a sacrificial nanopatterning template. By employing CB-mediated host-guest interactions at the interface, it is possible to readily generate nanopatterned materials in aqueous media under ambient conditions.
Project description:The impact of electrostatic attraction on the uptake of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) into positively charged strong poly-[2-(Methacryloyloxy) ethyl] trimethylammonium chloride (PMETAC) polyelectrolyte brushes was investigated. In this work, PMETAC brushes were synthesized via surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (Si-ATRP). PMETAC/AuNP composite materials were prepared by incubation of the polymer brush coated samples into 3-mercaptopropionic acid-capped AuNP (5 nm in diameter) suspension. The electrostatic interactions were tuned by changing the surface charge of the AuNPs through variations in pH value, while the charge of the PMETAC brush was not affected. Atomic-force microscopy (AFM), ellipsometry, UV/Vis spectroscopy, gravimetric analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were employed to study the loading and penetration into the polymer brush. The results show that the number density of attached AuNPs depends on the pH value and increases with increasing pH value. There is also strong evidence that the particle assembly is dependent on the pH value of the AuNP suspension. Incubation of PMETAC brushes in AuNP suspension at pH 4 led to the formation of a surface layer on top of the brush (2D assembly) due to sterical hindrance of the clustered AuNPs, while incubation in AuNP suspension at pH 8 led to deeper particle penetration into the brush (3D assembly). The straightforward control of particle uptake and assembly by tuning the charge density of the nanoparticle surface is a valuable tool for the development of materials for colorimetric sensor applications.
Project description:Substrate mediated gene delivery (SMD) is a method of immobilizing DNA complexes to a substrate via covalent attachment or nonspecific adsorption, which allows for increased transgene expression with less DNA compared to traditional bolus delivery. It may also increase cells receptivity to transfection via cell-material interactions. Substrate modifications with poly(acrylic) acid (PAA) brushes may improve SMD by enhancing substrate interactions with DNA complexes via tailored surface chemistry and increasing cellular adhesion via moieties covalently bound to the brushes. Previously, we described a simple method to graft PAA brushes to Ti and further demonstrated conjugation of cell adhesion peptides (i.e., RGD) to the PAA brushes to improve biocompatibility. The objective of this work was to investigate the ability of Ti substrates modified with PAA-RGD brushes (PAA-RGD) to immobilize complexes composed of branched polyethyleneimine and DNA plasmids (bPEI-DNA) and support SMD in NIH/3T3 fibroblasts. Transfection in NIH/3T3 cells cultured on bPEI-DNA complexes immobilized onto PAA-RGD substrates was measured and compared to transfection in cells cultured on control surfaces with immobilized complexes including Flat Ti, PAA brushes modified with a control peptide (RGE), and unmodified PAA. Transfection was two-fold higher in cells cultured on PAA-RGD compared to those cultured on all control substrates. While DNA immobilization measured with radiolabeled DNA indicated that all substrates (PAA-RGD, unmodified PAA, Flat Ti) contained nearly equivalent amounts of loaded DNA, ellipsometric measurements showed that more total mass (i.e., DNA and bPEI, both complexed and free) was immobilized to PAA and PAA-RGD compared to Flat Ti. The increase in adsorbed mass may be attributed to free bPEI, which has been shown to improve transfection. Further transfection investigations showed that removing free bPEI from the immobilized complexes decreased SMD transfection and negated any differences in transfection success between cells cultured on PAA-RGD and on control substrates, suggesting that free bPEI may be beneficial for SMD in cells cultured on bPEI-DNA complexes immobilized on PAA-RGD grafted to Ti. This work demonstrates that substrate modification with PAA-RGD is a feasible method to enhance SMD outcomes on Ti and may be used for future applications such as tissue engineering, gene therapy, and diagnostics.