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Biomacromolecules. 2012 Oct 8;13(10):3401-8. doi: 10.1021/bm301222f. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Mucin multilayers assembled through sugar-lectin interactions.

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Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Multilayer films of biopolymers are attractive tools to exploit the extraordinary properties of certain biomacromolecules and introduce new functionalities to surfaces. Mucins, the gel-forming constituents of mucus, are versatile glycoproteins that have potential as new building blocks for biomaterial surface coatings. Multilayer films have mostly been assembled through the electrostatic pairing of polyelectrolytes, which results in limited pH and salt stability and screens charges otherwise available for useful payload binding. Here, we aim at assembling mucin multilayer films that differ from conventional paired polyelectrolyte assemblies to obtain highly stable and functional surface modifications. Using the lectin wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) to cross-link mucin-bound sugar residues, we show that (Mucin/WGA) films can grow into hydrated films and sustain exceptional resistance to extreme salt conditions and a large range of pH. Furthermore, we show that the addition of soluble N-acetyl-d-glucosamine can induce the controlled release of WGA from (Mucin/WGA) films. Last, we show that (Mucin/WGA) films can repeatedly incorporate and release a positively charged model cargo. The lubricating, hydration, barrier, and antimicrobial properties of mucins open multiple applicative perspectives for these highly stable mucin-based multilayer films.

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