We report a new method to create a biofunctional surface in which the accessibility of a ligand is used as a means to influence the cell behavior. Supported bioactive bilayer membranes were created by Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) deposition of either a pure poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) lipid, having PEG head groups of various lengths, or 50 mol % binary mixtures of a PEG lipid and a novel collagen-like peptide amphiphile on a hydrophobic surface. The peptide amphiphile contains a peptide synthetically lipidated by covalent linkage to hydrophobic dialkyl tails. The amphiphile head group lengths were determined using neutron reflectivity. Cell adhesion and spreading assays showed that the cell response to the membranes depends on the length difference between head groups of the membrane components. Cells adhere and spread on mixtures of the peptide amphiphile with the PEG lipids having PEG chains of 120 and 750 molecular weight (MW). In contrast, cells adhered but did not spread on the mixture containing the 2000 MW PEG. Cells did not adhere to any of the pure PEG lipid membranes or to the mixture containing the 5000 MW PEG. Selective masking of a ligand on a surface is one method of controlling the surface bioactivity.
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