Functional immobilization of signaling proteins enables control of stem cell fate

Kristin Alberti, Ryan E Davey, Kento Onishi, Sophia George, Katrin Salchert, F Philipp Seib, Martin Bornhäuser, Tilo Pompe, Andras Nagy, Carsten Werner, Peter W Zandstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


The mode of ligand presentation has a fundamental role in organizing cell fate throughout development. We report a rapid and simple approach for immobilizing signaling ligands to maleic anhydride copolymer thin-film coatings, enabling stable signaling ligand presentation at interfaces at defined concentrations. We demonstrate the utility of this platform technology using leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and stem cell factor (SCF). Immobilized LIF supported mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) pluripotency for at least 2 weeks in the absence of added diffusible LIF. Immobilized LIF activated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling in a dose-dependent manner. The introduced method allows for the robust investigation of cell fate responses from interface-immobilized ligands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-650
Number of pages6
JournalNature Methods
Issue number7
Early online date15 Jun 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • functional immobilization
  • signaling proteins
  • control
  • stem cell fate


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