Molecular gradients of bioinertness reveal a mechanistic difference between mammalian cell adhesion and bacterial biofilm formation

Erik A. Burton, Karen A. Simon, Shuyu Hou, Dacheng Ren, Yan Yeung Luk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chemical gradients play an important role in guiding the activities of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Here, we used molecularly well-defined chemical gradients formed by self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on gold films to reveal that mammalian cell adhesion and bacterial biofilm formation respond differently to a gradient of surface chemistry that resists cell attachment. Gradient self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) consisting of two mixed alkanethiols were fabricated by differential exposure of the gold film to one alkanethiol, followed by soaking in another alkanethiol solution. A gradient in bioinertness that resisted cell attachment was created on SAMs from a gradient in the surface density of HS(CH 2) 11(OCH 2CH 2) 3OH, backfilled with either HS(CH 2) 11OH or HS(CH 2) 11CH 3. Measurements of the amounts of mammalian cells and bacterial biofilms on these gradient surfaces reveal that, for mammalian cells, a critical density of adhesion ligands from absorbed proteins on surfaces exists for supporting maximum adhesion and proliferation, whereas for the bacterium Escherichia coli, the amount of biofilm formed on surfaces increased linearly with the surface density of adhesive groups (methyl or hydroxyl groups) in different media. These results are consistent with mammalian cell adhesion requiring an anchorage via specific molecular recognitions and suggest that biofilms can form by immobilization of bacteria via nonspecific interaction between bacteria and surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1553
Number of pages7
JournalLangmuir
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 3 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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