The patterning of biomolecules at the nanoscale provides a powerful method to investigate cellular adhesion processes. A novel method for patterning is presented that is based on colloidal monolayer templating combined with multiple and angled deposition steps. Patterns of gold and SiO2 layers are used to generate complex protein nanopatterns over large areas. Simple circular patches or more complex ring structures are produced in addition to hierarchical patterns of smaller patches. The gold regions are modified through alkanethiol chemistry, which enables the preparation of extracellular matrix proteins (vitronectin) or cellular ligands (the extracellular domain of E-cadherin) in the nanopatterns, whereas the selective poly(l-lysine)–poly(ethylene glycol) functionalization of the SiO2 matrix renders it protein repellent. Cell studies, as a proof of principle, demonstrate the potential for using sets of systematically varied samples with simpler or more complex patterns for studies of cellular adhesive behavior and reveal that the local distribution of proteins within a simple patch critically influences cell adhesion.
Acta Biomaterialia, 2013, Vol 9, Issue 4, p. 6158-6168