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Integr Biol (Camb). 2011 Jul;3(7):779-91. doi: 10.1039/c0ib00151a. Epub 2011 May 26.

Probing dynamic cell-substrate interactions using photochemically generated surface-immobilized gradients: application to selectin-mediated leukocyte rolling.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 600 South Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Model substrates presenting biochemical cues immobilized in a controlled and well-defined manner are of great interest for their applications in biointerface studies that elucidate the molecular basis of cell receptor-ligand interactions. Herein, we describe a direct, photochemical method to generate surface-immobilized biomolecular gradients that are applied to the study of selectin-mediated leukocyte rolling. The technique employs benzophenone-modified glass substrates, which upon controlled exposure to UV light (350-365 nm) in the presence of protein-containing solutions facilitate the generation of covalently immobilized protein gradients. Conditions were optimized to generate gradient substrates presenting P-selectin and PSGL-1 (P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1) immobilized at site densities over a 5- to 10-fold range (from as low as ∼200 molecules μm(-2) to as high as 6000 molecules μm(-2)). The resulting substrates were quantitatively characterized via fluorescence analysis and radioimmunoassays before their use in the leukocyte rolling assays. HL-60 promyelocytes and Jurkat T lymphocytes were assessed for their ability to tether to and roll on substrates presenting immobilized P-selectin and PSGL-1 under conditions of physiologically relevant shear stress. The results of these flow assays reveal the combined effect of immobilized protein site density and applied wall shear stress on cell rolling behavior. Two-component substrates presenting P-selectin and ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1) were also generated to assess the interplay between these two proteins and their effect on cell rolling and adhesion. These proof-of-principle studies verify that the described gradient generation approach yields well-defined gradient substrates that present immobilized proteins over a large range of site densities that are applicable for investigation of cell-materials interactions, including multi-parameter leukocyte flow studies. Future applications of this enabling methodology may lead to new insights into the biophysical phenomena and molecular mechanism underlying complex biological processes such as leukocyte recruitment and the inflammatory response.

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