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Biotechniques. 2006 Apr;40(4):523-31.

Cell adhesion profiling using extracellular matrix protein microarrays.

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NMI at the University of Tübingen, Reutlingen, Germany.


We have developed a microarray-based system for cell adhesion profiling of large panels of cell-adhesive proteins to increase the throughput of in vitro cell adhesion assays, which are currently primarily performed in multiwell plates. Miniaturizing cell adhesion assays to an array format required the development of protocols for the reproducible microspotting of extracellular matrix (ECM) protein solutions and for the handling of cell suspensions during the assay. We generated ECM protein microarrays with high reproducibility in microspot protein content using nitrocellulose-coated glass microslides, combined with piezoelectric microspotting of protein solutions. Protocols were developed that allowed us to use 5000 cells or fewer on an array of 4 x 4 mm consisting of 64 microspots. Using this microarray system, we identified differences of adhesive properties of three cell lines to 14 different ECM proteins. Furthermore, the sensitivity and accuracy of the assays were increased using microarrays with ranges of ECM protein amounts. This microarray system will be particularly useful for extensive comparative cell adhesion profiling studies when only low amounts of adhesive substrate and cells, such as stem cells or cells from biopsies, are available.

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