General functionalization route for cell adhesion on non-wetting surfaces

Sook Hee Ku, Jungki Ryu, Seon Ki Hong, Haeshin Lee, Chan Beum Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

505 Scopus citations


We present a versatile route for promoting cell adhesion and viability on various non-wetting surfaces, inspired by mussel adhesion mechanism. The oxidative polymerization of dopamine, a small designer molecule of the DOPA-K motif found in mussels, results in the formation of a poly(dopamine) ad-layer on any material surface. We found that the poly(dopamine) coating can promote cell adhesion on any type of material surfaces including the well-known anti-adhesive substrate, poly(tetrafluoroethylene). According to our results, mammalian cells well adhered and underwent general cell adhesion processes (i.e., attachment to substrate, spreading, and cytoskeleton development) on poly(dopamine)-modified surfaces, while they barely adhered and spread on unmodified non-wetting surfaces. The mussel-inspired surface functionalization strategy is extremely useful because it does not require the time-consuming synthesis of complex linkers and the process is solvent-free and non-toxic. Therefore, it can be a powerful route for converting a variety of bioinert substrates into bioactive ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2535-2541
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) via National Research Laboratory (NRL) (R0A-2008-000-20041-0), Converging Research Center (2009-0082276), and World Class University (R31-2008-000-10071-0) Programs. This research was also partially supported by the BioGreen 21 Program (20070301034038), Republic of Korea.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cell adhesion
  • Mussel adhesives
  • Non-wetting surfaces
  • Poly(dopamine)
  • Surface modification


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