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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2004 Sep 5;87(5):669-74.

Neurotransmitter analog tethered to a silicon platform for neuro-BioMEMS applications.

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Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


The design of chemically well-defined, machinable surfaces containing neuroactive molecules offers potential for fundamental neuroscience and clinical neural engineering applications. Here we report the assembly and characterization of silicon platforms containing a tethered form of muscimol. Muscimol, an analog of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), is a potent agonist at postsynaptic GABA(A) and GABA(C) receptors. Surfaces were assembled using covalent avidin conjugation to silanized silicon followed by high-affinity avidin-biotin binding of a biotinylated derivative of muscimol (muscimol-biotin). Contact angle measurements, ellipsometry, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were conducted to characterize the wettability, thickness, and chemical composition of progressively deposited surface layers. The data demonstrate successful incorporation of a neurotransmitter analog as part of a layered, silicon-based structure possessing robust and specific biomolecular composition. These findings represent a step toward the design of platforms for applications involving control and modulation of neural signaling.

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