Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Acta Biomater. 2005 September ; 1(5): 511–522. doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2005.05.004. Copyright 2005 Elsevier. Used by permission.


Gene transfer has many potential applications in basic and applied sciences. In vitro, DNA delivery can be enhanced by increasing the concentration of DNA in the cellular microenvironment through immobilization of DNA to a substrate that supports cell adhesion. Substrate-mediated delivery describes the immobilization of DNA, complexed with cationic lipids or polymers, to a biomaterial or substrate. As surface properties are critical to the efficiency of the surface delivery approach, selfassembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols on gold were used to correlate surface chemistry of the substrate to binding, release, and transfection of non-specifically immobilized complexes. Surface hydrophobicity and ionization were found to mediate both DNA complex immobilization and transfection, but had no effect on complex release. Additionally, SAMs were used in conjunction with soft lithographic techniques to imprint substrates with specific patterns, resulting in patterned DNA complex deposition and transfection, with transfection efficiencies in the patterns nearing 40%. Controlling the interactions between complexes and substrates, with the potential for patterned delivery, can be used to locally enhance or regulate gene transfer, with applications to tissue engineering scaffolds and transfected cell arrays.