Langmuir, Vol.35, No.17, 5937-5943, 2019
Sequential Photoactivation of Self-Assembled Monolayers to Direct Cell Adhesion and Migration
Dynamic substrates for cell culture control the spatial and temporal presentation of extracellular matrix ligands that interact with adherent cells. This paper reports a photoactive surface chemistry that can repeatedly activate regions of the substrate for cell adhesion, spreading, and migration. The approach uses self-assembled monolayers presenting the integrin ligand RGD that is caged with a nitrophenyl-based photoprotecting group. The group is also modified with a maltoheptaose oligosaccharide to prevent nonspecific protein adsorption and cell attachment. The peptide is uncaged when irradiated with a laser source at 405 nm on a microscope to reveal micron-size regions for single cell attachment. This method is applied to studies of gap junction-mediated communication between two neighboring cells and requires the patterning of an initial receiver cell population and then the patterning of a second sender population to give a culture wherein each pair of cells are separated by 30 mu m. Finally, activation of the region between the cells permits cell-cell contact and gap junction assembly between the sender and receiver cells. This example demonstrates the broad relevance of this method to studying complex phenotypes in cell culture.