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Dense, ultrathin networks of isocyanate terminated star-shaped poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) molecules, cross-linked at their chain ends via urea groups, were shown to be extremely resistant to unspecific adsorption of proteins while at the same time suitable for easy biocompatible modification. Application by spin coating offers a simple procedure for the preparation of minimally interacting surfaces that are functionalized by suitable linker groups to immobilize proteins in their native conformations. These coatings form a versatile basis for biofunctional and biomimetic surfaces. We have demonstrated their advantageous properties by using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to study immobilized proteins under destabilizing conditions. Biotinylated ribonuclease H (RNase H) was labeled with a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) pair of fluorescent dyes and attached to the surface by a biotin-streptavidin linkage. FRET analysis demonstrated completely reversible denaturation/renaturation behavior upon exposure of the surface-immobilized proteins to 6 M guanidinium chloride (GdmCl) followed by washing in buffer. A comparison with bovine serum albumin (BSA) coated surfaces and linear PEO brush surfaces yielded superior performance in terms of chemical stability, inertness and noninteracting nature of the star-polymer derived films.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Chem Soc

Publication Date





4234 - 4239


Biomimetic Materials, Genetic Vectors, Microscopy, Atomic Force, Plasmids, Polyethylene Glycols, Polymers, Protein Conformation, Protein Folding, Proteins, Ribonuclease H, Streptavidin, Surface Properties