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Atomic force microscope (AFM) based single molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS) and a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) were respectively employed to probe interfacial characteristics of fibronectin fragment FNIII 8–14 and full-length fibronectin (FN) on CH 3–, OH–, COOH–, and NH 2-terminated alkane-thiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). Force-distance curves acquired between hexahistidine-tagged FNIII 8–14 immobilised on trisNTA-Ni 2+ functionalized AFM cantilevers and the OH and COOH SAM surfaces were predominantly ‘loop-like’ (76% and 94% respectively), suggesting domain unfolding and preference for ‘end-on’ oriented binding, while those generated with NH 2 and CH 3 SAMs were largely ‘mixed type’ (81% and 86%, respectively) commensurate with unravelling and desorption, and ‘side-on’ binding. Time-dependent binding of FN to SAM-coated QCM crystals occurred in at least two phases: initial rapid coverage over the first 5 min; and variably diminishing adsorption thereafter (5–70 min). Loading profiles and the final hydrated surface concentrations reached (~ 950, ~ 1200, ~ 1400, ~ 1500 ng cm −2 for CH 3, OH, COOH and NH 2 SAMs) were consistent with: space-filling ‘side-on’ orientation and unfolding on CH 3 SAM; greater numbers of FN molecules arranged ‘end-on’ on OH and especially COOH SAMs; and initial ‘side-on’ contact, followed by either (1) gradual tilting to a space-saving ‘end-on’ configuration, or (2) bi-/multi-layer adsorption on NH 2 SAM.
- binding orientation
- blood-contacting materials
- medical grade
- self-assembled monolayer (SAM)
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