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Catecholamine-Copper Redox as a Basis for Site-Specific Single-Step Functionalization of Material Surfaces

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journal contribution
posted on 14.01.2021, 19:10 by Zhaojun Jia, Kern Hast, Enver Cagri Izgu
Realization of robust and facile surface functionalization processes is critical to biomaterials and biotechnology yet remains a challenge. Here, we report a new chemical approach that enables operationally simple and site-specific surface functionalization. The mechanism involves a catechol-copper redox chemistry, where the oxidative polymerization of an alkynyl catecholamine reduces Cu­(II) to Cu­(I), which in situ catalyzes a click reaction with azide-containing molecules of interest (MOIs). This process enables drop-coating and grafting of two- and three-dimensional solid surfaces in a single operation using as small as sub-microliter volumes. Generalizability of the method is shown for immobilizing MOIs of diverse structure and chemical or biological activity. Biological applications in anti-biofouling, cellular adhesion, scaffold seeding, and tissue regeneration are demonstrated, in which the activities or fates of cells are site-specifically manipulated. This work advances surface chemistry by integrating simplicity and precision with multipurpose surface functionalization.