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Soft Matter. 2008 Jan 7;4(1):131-139.

Protein, cell and bacterial fouling resistance of polypeptoid-modified surfaces: effect of side-chain chemistry.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL, 60208, USA.


Peptidomimetic polymers consisting of poly-N-substituted glycine oligomers (polypeptoids) conjugated to biomimetic adhesive polypeptides were investigated as antifouling surface coatings. The polymers were immobilized onto TiO(2) surfaces via an anchoring peptide consisting of alternating residues of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) and lysine. Three polypeptoid side-chain compositions were investigated for antifouling performance and stability toward enzymatic degradation. Ellipsometry and XPS analysis confirmed that purified polymers adsorbed strongly to TiO(2) surfaces, and the immobilized polymers were resistant to enzymatic degradation as demonstrated by mass spectrometry. All polypeptoid-modified surfaces exhibited significant reductions in adsorption of lysozyme, fibrinogen and serum proteins, and were resistant to 3T3 fibroblast cell attachment for up to seven days. Long-term in vitro cell attachment studies conducted for six weeks revealed the importance of polypeptoid side-chain composition, with a methoxyethyl side chain providing superior long-term fouling resistance compared to hydroxyethyl and hydroxypropyl side chains. Finally, attachment of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria for up to four days under continuous-flow conditions was significantly reduced on the polypeptoid-modified surfaces compared to unmodified TiO(2) surfaces. The results reveal the influence of polypeptoid side-chain chemistry on short-term and long-term protein, cell and bacterial fouling resistance.

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