Programmable hydrogels for controlled cell catch and release using hybridized aptamers and complementary sequences

J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Sep 26;134(38):15716-9. doi: 10.1021/ja307717w. Epub 2012 Sep 14.


The ability to regulate cell-material interactions is important in various applications such as regenerative medicine and cell separation. This study successfully demonstrates that the binding states of cells on a hydrogel surface can be programmed by using hybridized aptamers and triggering complementary sequences (CSs). In the absence of the triggering CSs, the aptamers exhibit a stable, hybridized state in the hydrogel for cell-type-specific catch. In the presence of the triggering CSs, the aptamers are transformed into a new hybridized state that leads to the rapid dissociation of the aptamers from the hydrogel. As a result, the cells are released from the hydrogel. The entire procedure of cell catch and release during the transformation of the aptamers is biocompatible and does not involve any factor destructive to either the cells or the hydrogel. Thus, the programmable hydrogel is regenerable and can be applied to a new round of cell catch and release when needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels*


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Hydrogels