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Controlling Neuronal Growth on Au Surfaces by Directed Assembly of Proteins

  • Cristian Staii (a1), Chris Viesselman (a2), Jason Ballweg (a3), Steven Hart (a4), Justin C Williams (a5), Erik W Dent (a6), Susan N Coppersmith (a7) and Mark Eriksson (a8)...

Abstract

Studying how individual neuronal cells grow and interact with each other is of fundamental importance for understanding the functions of the nervous system. However, the mechanism of axonal navigation to their target region and their specific interactions with guidance factors such as membrane-bound proteins, chemical and temperature gradients, mechanical guidance cues, etc. are not well understood. Here we describe a new approach for controlling the adhesion, growth and interconnectivity of cortical neurons on Au surfaces. Specifically, we use Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) nanolithography to immobilize growth-factor proteins at well-defined locations on Au surfaces. These surface-immobilized proteins act as a) adhesion proteins for neuronal cells (i.e. well-defined locations where the cells “stick” to the surface), and b) promoters/inhibitors for the growth of neurites. Our results show that protein patterns can be used to confine neuronal cells and to control their growth and interconnectivity on Au surfaces. We also show that AFM nanolithography presents unique advantages for this type of work, such as high degree of control over location and shape of the protein patterns, and application of proteins in aqueous solutions (protein buffers), such that the proteins are very likely to retain their folding conformation/bioactivity.

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References

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Keywords

Controlling Neuronal Growth on Au Surfaces by Directed Assembly of Proteins

  • Cristian Staii (a1), Chris Viesselman (a2), Jason Ballweg (a3), Steven Hart (a4), Justin C Williams (a5), Erik W Dent (a6), Susan N Coppersmith (a7) and Mark Eriksson (a8)...

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