An experimental-theoretical analysis of protein adsorption on peptidomimetic polymer brushes

Lau, K. H. A. and Ren, C. L. and Park, S. H. and Szleifer, I. and Messersmith, P. B. (2012) An experimental-theoretical analysis of protein adsorption on peptidomimetic polymer brushes. Langmuir, 28 (4). pp. 2288-2298. ISSN 0743-7463 (

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Surface-grafted water-soluble polymer brushes are being intensely investigated for preventing protein adsorption to improve biomedical device function, prevent marine fouling, and enable applications in biosensing and tissue engineering. In this contribution, we present an experimental-theoretical analysis of a peptidomimetic polymer brush system with regard to the critical brush density required for preventing protein adsorption at varying chain lengths. A mussel adhesive-inspired DOPA-Lys (DOPA = 3,4-dihydroxy-phenylalanine; Lys = lysine) pentapeptide surface grafting motif enabled aqueous deposition of our peptidomimetic polypeptoid brushes over a wide range of chain densities. Critical densities of 0.88 nm(-2) for a relatively short polypeptoid 10-mer to 0.42 nm(-2) for a SO-mer were identified from measurements of protein adsorption. The experiments were also compared with the protein adsorption isotherms predicted by a molecular theory. Excellent agreements in terms of both the polymer brush structure and the critical chain density were obtained. Furthermore, atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging is shown to be useful in verifying the critical brush density for preventing protein adsorption. The present coanalysis of experimental and theoretical results demonstrates the significance of characterizing the critical brush density in evaluating the performance of an antifouling polymer brush system. The high fidelity of the agreement between the experiments and molecular theory also indicate that the theoretical approach presented can aid in the practical design of antifouling polymer brush systems.