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Fabrication of Oligonucleotide and Protein Arrays on Rigid and Flexible Substrates Coated with Reactive Polymer Multilayers

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journal contribution
posted on 23.01.2013, 00:00 by Adam H. Broderick, Matthew C. D. Carter, Matthew R. Lockett, Lloyd M. Smith, David M. Lynn
We report a top-down approach to the fabrication of oligonucleotide and protein arrays on surfaces coated with ultrathin, amine-reactive polymer multilayers fabricated by the covalent “layer-by-layer” (LbL) assembly of polyethyleneimine (PEI) and the amine-reactive, azlactone-functionalized polymer poly­(2-vinyl-4,4-dimethylazlactone) (PVDMA). Manual spotting of amine-terminated oligonucleotide probe sequences on planar glass slides coated with PEI/PVDMA multilayers (∼35 nm thick) yielded arrays of immobilized probes that hybridized fluorescently labeled complementary sequences with high signal intensities, high signal-to-noise ratios, and high sequence specificity. Treatment of residual azlactone functionality with the nonfouling small-molecule amine d-glucamine resulted in regions between the features of these arrays that resisted adsorption of protein and permitted hybridization in complex media containing up to 10 mg/mL protein. The residual azlactone groups in these films were also exploited to immobilize proteins on film-coated surfaces and fabricate functional arrays of proteins and enzymes. The ability to deposit PEI/PVDMA multilayers on substrates of arbitrary size, shape, and composition permitted the fabrication of arrays of oligonucleotides on the surfaces of multilayer-coated sheets of poly­(ethylene terephthalate) and heat-shrinkable polymer film. Arrays fabricated on these flexible plastic substrates can be bent, cut, resized, and manipulated physically in ways that are difficult using more conventional rigid substrates. This approach could thus contribute to the development of new assay formats and new applications of biomolecule arrays. The methods described here are straightforward to implement, do not require access to specialized equipment, and should also be compatible with automated liquid-handling methods used to fabricate higher-density arrays of oligonucleotides and proteins on more traditional surfaces.