Templating biomineralization: surface directed protein self-assembly and external magnetic field stimulation of osteoblasts
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Biomineralization is a wide-spread phenomenon in the biological systems, which is the process of mineral formation by organisms through interaction between its organic contents and the inorganic minerals. The process is essential in a broad spectrum of biological phenomena ranging from bone and tooth formation to pathological mineralization under hypoxic conditions or cancerous formations. In this thesis I studied biomineralization at the earliest stages in order to obtain a better understanding of the fundamental principals involved. This knowledge is essential if we want to engineer devices which will increase bone regeneration or prevent unwanted mineral deposits. Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins play an essential role during biomineralization in bone and engineered tissues. In this dissertation, I present an approach to mimic the ECM in vitro to probe the interactions of these proteins with calcium phosphate mineral and with each other. Early stage of mineralization is investigated by mechanical properties of the protein fibers using Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) and Shear Modulation Force Microscopy (SMFM). The development of mineral crystals on the protein matrices is also characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Grazing Incidence X-ray Diffraction (GIXRD). The results demonstrate complementary actions of the two ECM proteins to collect cations and template calcium phosphate mineral, respectively. Magnets have been clinically used as an induction source in various bone or orthodontic treatments. However, the mechanism and effects of magnetic fields remain unclear. In this dissertation, I also undertake the present investigation to study the effects of 150 mT static magnetic fields (SMF) on ECM development and cell biomineralization using MC3T3-E1 osteobalst-like cells. Early stage of biomineralization is characterized by SPM, SMFM and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CSLM). Late stage of biomineralization is investigated by SEM, GIXRD and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS). Gene expression during the exposure of SMF is also studies by RT-PCR. The results indicated that exposure to SMF induces osteoblasts to produce larger quantities of HA, with higher degree of crystalline order. The controlling and understanding of protein on the surface is of great interest in biomedical application such as implant medicine, biosensor design, food processing, and chromatographic separations. The adsorbed protein onto the surface significantly determines the performance of biomaterials in a biological environment. Recent studies have suggested that the preservation of the native secondary structure of protein adsorbed is essential for biological application. In order to manipulate protein adsorption and design biocompatible materials, the mechanisms underlying protein-surface interactions, especially how surface properties of materials induce conformational changes of adsorbed proteins, needs to be well understood. Here we demonstrated that even though SPS is a necessary condition, it is not sufficient. We show that low substrate conductivity as well as proper salt concentration are also critical in sustained protein adsorption continuously. These factors allow one to pattern regions of different conducting properties and for the first time patterns physiologically relevant protein structures. Here we show that we can achieve patterned biomineralized regimes, both with plasma proteins in a simple and robust manner without additional functionalization or application of electrochemical gradients. Since the data indicate that the patterns just need to differ in electrical conductivity, rather than surface chemistry, we propose that the creation of transient image charges, due to incomplete charge screening, may be responsible for sustain the driving force for continual protein absorption.