Cell motility on polyethylene glycol block copolymers correlates to fibronectin surface adsorption

Macromol Biosci. 2014 Dec;14(12):1755-63. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201400246. Epub 2014 Sep 10.


Adhesion and motility of cells on polyethylene glycol (PEG) engineered surfaces are of fundamental interest for the development of biotechnological devices. Here, the structure of PEG block copolymers physisorbed to surfaces by polyLlysine (PLL) or polypropylene oxide (PPO) is studied. Cell behavior on such surfaces incubated with fibronectin (FN) is analyzed via time-lapse microscopy, the amount and the location of FN is determined via neutron reflectivity. While FN does not adsorb onto PPOPEG, 0.4-0.7 mg m(-2) of FN is found in the vicinity of the PLL moiety of PLLPEG. Cells exhibit 21% increased motility on PLLPEG (5 kDa PEG chains) compared to pure FN layers, and 12% decreased motility for PLLPEG (2 kDa PEG chains). These findings suggest that by design of PEGylated surfaces cell migration can be controlled.

Keywords: cell morphology; cell motility; fibronectin adsorption; neutron reflectivity; polyethylene glycol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement*
  • Fibronectins / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Phenyl Ethers / chemistry*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Polylysine / chemistry*
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Fibronectins
  • Phenyl Ethers
  • Polymers
  • poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide)
  • Polylysine
  • Polyethylene Glycols