We have imaged with scanning force microscopy in air fibronectin (Fn) molecules sprayed on mica and on polymethylmetacrylate (PMMA), the latter being extensively used as biomaterial for implants. On mica we can observe small aggregates as well as individual molecules whose shape is influenced by the tip interaction during the scanning process, most of the isolated molecules showing a V-shape oriented in the scan direction. This indicates that the arms of the molecules are relatively free to move and the binding to the mica substrate is located near the disulfide bridge between the two subunits of the molecule. On the other side, when Fn molecules are sprayed on PMMA under the same conditions as for mica, we observe a thin network which we interpret as Fn molecules bound to each other. We relate our observation to the fact that mica is known to be strongly hydrophilic, which could reduce the Fn binding properties by interacting relatively strongly with molecules. On the other side, PMMA being hydrophobic, would interact less with molecules, leaving more binding sites for inter-molecular attachment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics