In the present study, we have utilized X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), spectroscopic ellipsometry (ELM), and optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy (OWLS) to examine the surface adsorption and protein resistance behavior of bio-inspired polymers consisting of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) conjugated to peptide mimics of mussel adhesive proteins. Peptides containing up to three residues of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), a key component of mussel adhesive proteins, were conjugated to monomethoxy-terminated PEG polymers. These mPEG-DOPA polymers were found to be highly adhesive to TiO2 surfaces, with quantitative XPS analysis providing useful insight into the binding mechanism. Additionally, the antifouling properties of immobilized PEG were reflected in the excellent resistance of mPEG-DOPA-modified TiO2 surfaces to protein adsorption. Measurements of mPEG-DOPA and human serum adsorption were related in terms of ethylene glycol (EG) surface density and serum mass adsorbed and demonstrated a threshold of approximately 15-20 EG/nm2, above which substantially little protein adsorbs. With respect to surface density of adsorbed PEG and the associated nonfouling behavior of the adlayers, strong parallels exist between the nonfouling properties of the surface-bound mPEG-DOPA polymers and PEG polymers immobilized to surfaces using other approaches. Peptide anchors containing three DOPA residues resulted in PEG surface densities higher than those achieved using several existing PEG immobilization strategies, suggesting that peptide mimics of mussel adhesive proteins may be useful for achieving high densities of protein-resistant polymers on surfaces.
Dalsin, Jeffrey L., Lijun Lin, Samuele Tosatti, Janos Vörös, Marcus Textor, Phillip B. Messersmith