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Unique imprinting on smart surfaces


A research team at Biofilms - Research Center for Biointerfaces, headed by post-doc Guoqing Pan and under the leadership of Professor Börje Sellergren, has developed a technique whereby the interaction between cells and smart biomaterials can be regulated molecularly. 

The research results have attracted a great deal of attention and the article ‘An Epitope Imprinted Biointerface with Dynamic Bioactivity for Modulating Cell-Biomaterial Interactions’ has been accepted as a VIP – Very Important Paper – by the prominent scientific journal Angewandte Chemie. 

Guoqing Pan

“We have succeeded in imitating the dynamics that take place in nature when cells attach to surfaces. With this discovery, we can both bind and release cells through molecular regulation,” said Guoqing Pan. 

Potential areas of use for this innovative technique are the repair of damaged tissue, stem cell-based medicine, and the potential to capture circulating tumour cells in the body. 

In the experiments, an imprint of an epitope, a short peptide sequence/antigen determinant, was imposed on a specially designed artificial biosurface. An RGD-based peptide, which is a trigger for cell adhesion, was then allowed to adhere to the surface.

By doing so, the RGD sequence is exposed and is recognised more easily by the cells. Adding the epitope facilitates a molecular exchange, thus allowing the cells to both adhere to and leave the surface. 

In the next research phase, Guoqing Pan and his research team will, instead of peptides, examine the potential to create similar reversible interactions and imprints using short DNA chains.

The project, entitled MIP4CELL, has been made possible through funding from the EU-based Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), and is being run under the leadership of Professor Börje Sellergren. 

“There is currently a lack of effective methods for the regulation of cell and tissue cultivation. This is a unique, mild method, and in years to come it could be of major significance to regenerative medicine and stem cell medicine,” said Börje Sellergren. 

Text: Adrian Grist

Last updated by Adrian Grist