ProtocolCell Migration

Substrate-Bound Protein Gradients for Cell Culture Fabricated by Microfluidic Networks and Microcontact Printing

Science's STKE  27 Nov 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 414, pp. pl6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.4142007pl6

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Graded distributions of proteins are pivotal for many signaling processes during development, such as morphogenesis, cell migration, and axon guidance. Here, we describe a technique to fabricate substrate-bound stepwise protein gradients by means of a microfluidic network etched into a silicon wafer with an array of parallel 14-micrometer–wide channels, which can be filled with a series of arbitrarily chosen protein solutions. In a subsequent microcontact printing step, the protein pattern is transferred onto a surface and is used as a substrate for cell culture. Cellular responses to a defined microscopic pattern of a protein, such as guided axonal outgrowth and directed migration, cell polarization, changes in morphology, and signaling, can be thus studied in a controlled in vitro environment.

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