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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Jan 18;134(2):765-8. doi: 10.1021/ja2080949. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Chemically programmed cell adhesion with membrane-anchored oligonucleotides.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco, 600 16th Street Box 2280, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.


Cell adhesion organizes the structures of tissues and mediates their mechanical, chemical, and electrical integration with their surroundings. Here, we describe a strategy for chemically controlling cell adhesion using membrane-anchored single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides. The reagents are pure chemical species prepared from phosphoramidites synthesized in a single chemical step from commercially available starting materials. The approach enables rapid, efficient, and tunable cell adhesion, independent of proteins or glycans, by facilitating interactions with complementary labeled surfaces or other cells. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by imaging drug-induced changes in the membrane dynamics of non-adherent human cells that are chemically immobilized on a passivated glass surface.

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