Formation of microscale gradients of protein using heterobifunctional photolinkers

Claire L. Hypolite, Terri L. McLernon, Derek N. Adams, Kenneth E. Chapman, Curtis B. Herbert, Cheng-Cher Huang, Mark D Distefano, Wei-Shou Hu

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82 Scopus citations


Gradients of biological molecules on a microscale have been postulated to elicit cellular responses, such as migration. However, it has been difficult to prepare such gradients for experimental testing. A means for producing such gradients has been developed using a heterobifunctional photolinking agent with laser light activation. The photolinking agent synthesized includes an N-hydroxysuccinimide group and a photoreactive benzophenone (BP) separated by a tetraethylene glycol (TEG) spacer. The presence of the tetraethylene glycol spacer renders the photolinker hydrophilic, a desirable trait for conjugation in aqueous solutions. The linker was then conjugated to R-phycoerythrin (R-PE), a fluorescent protein. The resulting photolinker-R-phycoerythrin conjugate (BP-TEG-PE) was then immobilized onto a polystyrene surface by laser irradiation on a motorized stage. By varying exposure time of the sample to the beam, the amount of BP-TEG-PE immobilized on the surface was changed over an order of magnitude over a distance of 250 μm. This method can be applied to prepare gradients of proteins that elicit biological responses, such as extracellular matrix proteins or growth factors, and to study the biological effects of such gradients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-663
Number of pages6
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997


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