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Biomaterials. 2007 Dec;28(35):5215-24. Epub 2007 Sep 17.

Facile coupling of synthetic peptides and peptide-polymer conjugates to cartilage via transglutaminase enzyme.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.


Covalent attachment of synthetic and biological molecules to tissue surfaces can be used to enhance local drug delivery, reduce adhesions after surgery, and attach reconstructive biomaterials and tissue-engineered matrices to tissues. We present here a mild approach to coupling polymers to tissue surfaces through an enzyme catalyzed reaction between peptide modified polymer and native protein components of the tissue extracellular matrix (ECM). Tissue transglutaminase (tTG), a Ca2+-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the reaction between lysine and glutamine residues to form a epsilon(gamma-glutaminyl) lysine isopeptide bond, was incubated with cartilage in the presence of lysine (FKG-NH2) and glutamine (GQQQLG-NH2) peptides as well as peptide functionalized poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the presence of covalently bound PEG polymer at the tissue surface as well as to a depth of as much as 10 microm below the surface. Collagen II, fibronectin, osteopontin and osteonectin were found to react with the peptides and peptide modified PEG in the presence of tTG in solution, suggesting these cartilage ECM components as being substrates in the tissue reaction. The results illustrate the use of tTG as a simple, effective and biologically compatible method of coupling synthetic and biological molecules to cartilage and other tissues containing ECM proteins that are substrates of tTG.

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