Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Acta Biomater. 2008 January ; 4(1): 26–39. Copyright 2008 Elsevier. Used by permission.


Substrate-mediated gene delivery describes the immobilization of gene therapy vectors to a biomaterial, which enhances gene transfer by exposing adhered cells to elevated DNA concentrations within the local microenvironment. Surface chemistry has been shown to affect transfection by nonspecifically immobilized complexes using self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols on gold. In this report, SAMs were again used to provide a controlled surface to investigate whether the presence of oligo(ethylene glycol) (EG) groups in a SAM could affect complex morphology and enhance transfection. EG groups were included at percentages that did not affect cell adhesion. Nonspecific complex immobilization to SAMs containing combinations of EG- and carboxylic acidterminated alkanethiols resulted in substantially greater transfection than surfaces containing no EG groups or SAMs composed of EG groups combined with other functional groups. Enhancement in transfection levels could not be attributed to complex binding densities or release profiles. Atomic force microscopy imaging of immobilized complexes revealed that EG groups within SAMs affected complex size and appearance and could indicate the ability of these surfaces to preserve complex morphology upon binding. The ability to control the morphology of the immobilized complexes and influence transfection levels through surface chemistry could be translated to scaffolds for gene delivery in tissue engineering and diagnostic applications.