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Biomacromolecules. 2013 Feb 11;14(2):520-8. doi: 10.1021/bm301774a. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Influence of polyelectrolyte film stiffness on bacterial growth.

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Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, Bio- & Soft Matter Division, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 1, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


Photo-cross-linkable polyelectrolyte films, whose nanomechanical properties can be varied under UV light illumination, were prepared from poly(l-lysine) (PLL) and a hyaluronan derivative modified with photoreactive vinylbenzyl groups (HAVB). The adhesion and the growth of two model bacteria, namely Escherichia coli and Lactococcus lactis , were studied on non-cross-linked and cross-linked films to investigate how the film stiffness influences the bacterial behavior. While the Gram positive L. lactis was shown to grow slowly on both films, independently of their rigidity, the Gram negative E. coli exhibited a more rapid growth on non-cross-linked softer films compared to the stiffer ones. Experiments performed on photopatterned films showing both soft and stiff regions, confirmed a faster development of E. coli colonies on softer regions. Interestingly, this behavior is opposite to the one reported before for mammalian cells. Therefore, the photo-cross-linked (PLL/HAVB) films are interesting coatings for tissue engineering since they promote the growth of mammalian cells while limiting the bacterial colonization.

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