Patterning cells on material surfaces is an important tool for the study of fundamental cell biology, tissue engineering, and cell-based bioassays. Here, the authors report a simple approach to pattern cells on gold patterned silicon substrates with high precision, fidelity, and stability. Cell patterning is achieved by exploiting adsorbed biopolymer orientation to either enhance (gold regions) or impede (silicon oxide regions) cell adhesion at particular locations on the patterned surface. Genetic incorporation of gold binding domains enables C-terminal chemisorption of polypeptides onto gold regions with enhanced accessibility of N-terminal cell binding domains. In contrast, the orientation of polypeptides adsorbed on the silicon oxide regions limit the accessibility of the cell binding domains. The dissimilar accessibility of cell binding domains on the gold and silicon oxide regions directs the cell adhesion in a spatially controlled manner in serum-free medium, leading to the formation of well-defined cellular patterns. The cells are confined within the polypeptide-modified gold regions and are viable for eight weeks, suggesting that bioactive polypeptide modified surfaces are suitable for long-term maintenance of patterned cells. This study demonstrates an innovative surface-engineering approach for cell patterning by exploiting distinct ligand accessibility on heterogeneous surfaces.
Creating cellular patterns using genetically engineered, gold- and cell-binding polypeptides