Smart Biointerfaces via Click Chemistry-Enabled Nanopatterning of Multiple Bioligands and DNA Force Sensors

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Nanoscale biomolecular placement is crucial for advancing cellular signaling, sensor technology, and molecular interaction studies. Despite this, current methods fall short in enabling large-area nanopatterning of multiple biomolecules while minimizing nonspecific interactions. Using bioorthogonal tags at a submicron scale, we introduce a novel hole-mask colloidal lithography method for arranging up to three distinct proteins, DNA, or peptides on large, fully passivated surfaces. The surfaces are compatible with single-molecule fluorescence microscopy and microplate formats, facilitating versatile applications in cellular and single-molecule assays. We utilize fully passivated and transparent substrates devoid of metals and nanotopographical features to ensure accurate patterning and minimize nonspecific interactions. Surface patterning is achieved using bioorthogonal TCO-tetrazine (inverse electron-demand Diels-Alder, IEDDA) ligation, DBCO-azide (strain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition, SPAAC) click chemistry, and biotin-avidin interactions. These are arranged on surfaces passivated with dense poly(ethylene glycol) PEG brushes crafted through the selective and stepwise removal of sacrificial metallic and polymeric layers, enabling the directed attachment of biospecific tags with nanometric precision. In a proof-of-concept experiment, DNA tension gauge tether (TGT) force sensors, conjugated to cRGD (arginylglycylaspartic acid) in nanoclusters, measured fibroblast integrin tension. This novel application enables the quantification of forces in the piconewton range, which is restricted within the nanopatterned clusters. A second demonstration of the platform to study integrin and epidermal growth factor (EGF) proximal signaling reveals clear mechanotransduction and changes in the cellular morphology. The findings illustrate the platform's potential as a powerful tool for probing complex biochemical pathways involving several molecules arranged with nanometer precision and cellular interactions at the nanoscale.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Pages (from-to)21534-21545
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


  • 3T3 cells
  • DNA force sensors
  • hole-mask colloidal lithography
  • protein nanopatterning
  • surface click chemistry


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