Adhesive Micropatterns for Cells: A Microcontact Printing Protocol

Author

Manuel Théry and Matthieu Piel

Journal

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

Publication Date

01/10/2009

Abstract

This protocol describes a simple, fast, and efficient method for making adhesive micropatterns that can be used to control individual cell shape and adhesion patterns. It is based on the use of an elastomeric stamp containing microfeatures to print proteins on the substrate of choice. The process can be subdivided into three parts. First, a silicon master is fabricated, which contains the microfeatures of interest. Once fabricated, the master can be used multiple times to make stamps. Masters with customized patterns can also be purchased commercially. Second, a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stamp is fabricated. Unlike fabrication of the master, this step can be performed without specialized equipment. The PDMS stamp is inked with extracellular matrix proteins. Proteins are printed on a substrate (e.g., a tissue culture polystyrene dish or a glass coverslip covered with a thin layer of polystyrene). The nonprinted areas are back-filled with poly-L-lysine-polyethylene glycol, which renders them resistant to cell adhesion. The production of these micropatterned substrates can be completed in <2 h. The third and final portion of the protocol describes the deposition of cells onto the micropatterned substrate.

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