Immobilization of Motile Bacterial Cells via Dip-pen Nanolithography

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A strategy to bind bacterial cells to surfaces in a directed fashion via dip-pen nanolithography (DPN) is presented. Cellular attachment to pre-designed DPN generated microarrays was found to be dependent on the shape and size of the surface feature. While this observation is likely due in part to a dense, well formed mercaptohexadecanoic acid (MHA) monolayer generated via DPN, it may also simply be due to the physical shape of the surface structure. Motile Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial cells were observed to bind to DPN generated mercaptohexadecanoic acid/poly-L-lysine (MHA/PLL) line patterns, 'blocks' made up of eight lines with 100 nm spacings, with ~ 80% occupancy. Cellular binding to these 'block' surface structures occurs via an electrostatic interaction between negatively charged groups on the bacterial cell surface and positively charged poly-L-lysine (PLL) assemblies. These data indicate that these DPN generated 'block' surface structures provide a promising footprint for the attachment of motile bacterial cells that may find utility in cell based biosensors or single cell studies.


Nanotechnology. Vol. 21, No. 23 (2010): 235105. DOI.

Richard C. Holz was affiliated with Loyola University-Chicago at the time of publication.