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Biomacromolecules. 2004 Nov-Dec;5(6):2315-23.

Light-activated immobilization of biomolecules to agarose hydrogels for controlled cellular response.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, 200 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3E5.

Abstract

We describe a new method of synthesizing photolabile hydrogel materials for convenient photoimmobilization of biomolecules on surfaces or in 3-D matrixes. Dissolved agarose was modified with photolabile S-(2-nitrobenzyl)cysteine (S-NBC) via 1,1'-carbonyldiimidazole (CDI) activation of primary hydroxyl groups. S-NBC-modified agarose remained soluble and gelable with up to 5% S-NBC substitution, yet gelation was slower and the elastic modulus of the resulting gel was lower than those of unmodified agarose. Irradiating S-NBC-grafted agarose resulted in the loss of the protecting 2-nitrobenzyl groups, thereby exposing free sulfhydryl groups for biomolecular coupling. When appropriately activated with sulfhydryl-reactive groups, either peptides or proteins were effectively immobilized to the photoirradiated hydrogel matrixes, with the irradiation energy dose (i.e., irradiation time) used to control the amount of biomolecule immobilization. When the GRGDS peptide was immobilized on agarose, it was shown to be cell-adhesive and to promote neurite outgrowth from primary, embryonic chick dorsal root ganglion neurons. The immobilized GRGDS surface ligand concentration affected the cellular response: neurite length and density increased with GRGDS surface concentration at low adhesion ligand concentration and then plateaued at higher GRGDS concentration. Grafting 2-nitrobenzyl-protected compounds to hydrogel materials is useful for creating new photolabile hydrogel substrates for light-activated functional group generation and biomolecular immobilization.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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