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ACS Nano. 2010 Oct 26;4(10):5539-50. doi: 10.1021/nn101793u.

Cell-directed integration into three-dimensional lipid-silica nanostructured matrices.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.

Erratum in

  • ACS Nano. 2011 Mar 22;5(3):2412. Khirpin, Constantine Y [corrected to Khripin, Constantine Y].


We report a unique approach in which living cells direct their integration into 3D solid-state nanostructures. Yeast cells deposited on a weakly condensed lipid/silica thin film mesophase actively reconstruct the surface to create a fully 3D bio/nano interface, composed of localized lipid bilayers enveloped by a lipid/silica mesophase, through a self-catalyzed silica condensation process. Remarkably, this integration process selects exclusively for living cells over the corresponding apoptotic cells (those undergoing programmed cell death), via the development of a pH gradient, which catalyzes silica deposition and the formation of a coherent interface between the cell and surrounding silica matrix. Added long-chain lipids or auxiliary nanocomponents are localized within the pH gradient, allowing the development of complex active and accessible bio/nano interfaces not achievable by other synthetic methods. Overall, this approach provides the first demonstration of active cell-directed integration into a nominally solid-state three-dimensional architecture. It promises a new means to integrate "bio" with "nano" into platforms useful to study and manipulate cellular behavior at the individual cell level and to interface living organisms with electronics, photonics, and fluidics.

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