Polymer-tethered membranes as quantitative models for the study of integrin-mediated cell adhesion

  • Purrucker O
  • Gönnenwein S
  • Förtig A
 et al. 
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Here we report a remarkable enhancement in the adhesion strength of
transmembrane cell receptors, human platelet integrin, in a new class
of supported lipid membranes, which are separated from the solid
substrates by linear polymer spacers. The amphiphilic polymer tether
consists of linear hydrophilic poly(2-oxazoline) chains of defined
length ( degree of polymerization n = 104, M-W/M-n = 1.30), whose
chain termini are functionalized with the tri-functional silane surface
coupling group and hydrophobic n-alkyl chains as membrane anchors
(lipopolymers). As a model of test cells, giant lipid vesicles were
functionalized with synthetic ligand molecules containing the RGD
sequence, and the free energy of adhesion Delta g(ad) between the
integrin-doped tethered membrane and the vesicle was measured using
a micro-interferometry technique. It has been demonstrated that the
adhesion function of integrin receptors in these polymer-tethered
membranes is 30 times stronger than those incorporated into membranes
directly deposited onto solid substrates (solid-supported membranes).
The obtained results demonstrate that linear lipopolymer spacers
provide a fluid and non-denaturing environment for the incorporated
cell receptors and allow quantitative modelling of cell adhesion

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