Changing gears from chemical adhesion of cells to flat substrata toward engulfment of micro-protrusions by active mechanisms.

Aviad Hai*, Dotan Kamber, Guy Malkinson, Hadas Erez, Noa Mazurski, Joseph Shappir, Micha E. Spira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Microelectrode arrays increasingly serve to extracellularly record in parallel electrical activity from many excitable cells without inflicting damage to the cells by insertion of microelectrodes. Nevertheless, apart from rare cases they suffer from a low signal to noise ratio. The limiting factor for effective electrical coupling is the low seal resistance formed between the plasma membrane and the electronic device. Using transmission electron microscope analysis we recently reported that cultured Aplysia neurons engulf protruding micron size gold spines forming tight apposition which significantly improves the electrical coupling in comparison with flat electrodes (Hai et al 2009 Spine-shaped gold protrusions improve the adherence and electrical coupling of neurons with the surface of micro-electronic devices J. R. Soc. Interface 6 1153-65). However, the use of a transmission electron microscope to measure the extracellular cleft formed between the plasma membrane and the gold-spine surface may be inaccurate as chemical fixation may generate structural artifacts. Using live confocal microscope imaging we report here that cultured Aplysia neurons engulf protruding spine-shaped gold structures functionalized by an RGD-based peptide and to a significantly lesser extent by poly-l-lysine. The cytoskeletal elements actin and associated protein cortactin are shown to organize around the stalks of the engulfed gold spines in the form of rings. Neurons grown on the gold-spine matrix display varying growth patterns but maintain normal electrophysiological properties and form functioning synapses. It is concluded that the matrices of functionalized gold spines provide an improved substrate for the assembly of neuro-electronic hybrids.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)66009
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

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