Manipulating protein adsorption using a patchy protein-resistant brush

Saugata Gon, Marina Bendersky, Jennifer L. Ross, Maria M. Santore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Toward the development of surfaces for the precise manipulation of proteins, this study explores the fabrication and protein-interactive behavior of a new type of surface containing extremely small (on the order of 10 nm or less) flat adhesive "patches" or islands embedded in and partially concealed by a protein-repellant PEG (poly(ethylene glycol)) brush. The adsorption of fibrinogen, the model protein chosen to probe the biomaterial interactions of these surfaces, is very sensitive to the surface density of the adhesive patches, occurring only above a threshold. This suggests that two or more adhesive patches are needed to capture each protein. When the average spacing of the adhesive patches exceeds the fibrinogen length, no adsorption occurs because individual patches are too weakly binding for protein capture, as a result of being at least partially obstructed by the brush. The small size of the adhesive patches relative to the 47 nm fibrinogen length thus defines a limiting regime of surface design, distinct from surfaces where larger features can adhere single isolated proteins or multiple proteins together. The restricted protein-surface contact may comprise a means of preserving protein structure and function in the adsorbed state. This article demonstrates several additional interesting features of PEG brushes relevant to biomaterial design. First a moderate amount of adhesive material can be buried at the base of a brush without a measurable impact on the corona density. Second, a different amount of material at the base of a brush can be rendered ineffective to capturing adhesive proteins, despite a modest compromise of the brush corona. From this will follow insight into the design of patterned biomaterial surfaces, the bioactivity of the edges of patterned features, and an understanding of how flaws in brushes compromise protein resistance or allow access to small adhesive sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12147-12154
Number of pages8
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 20 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Manipulating protein adsorption using a patchy protein-resistant brush'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this