Artificial cilia for soft and stable surface covalent immobilization of bone morphogenetic protein-2

Qi Gan, Lina Chen, Ho Pan Bei, Sze Wing Ng, Han Guo, Guoqiang Liu, Hao Pan, Changsheng Liu (Corresponding Author), Xin Zhao (Corresponding Author), Zijian Zheng (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Preservation of growth factor sensitivity and bioactivity (e.g., bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2)) post-immobilization to tissue engineering scaffolds remains a great challenge. Here, we develop a stable and soft surface modification strategy to address this issue. BMP-2 (a model growth factor) is covalently immobilized onto homogeneous poly (glycidyl methacrylate) (PGMA) polymer brushes which are grafted onto substrate surfaces (Au, quartz glass, silica wafer, or common biomaterials) via surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization. This surface modification method multiplies the functionalized interfacial area; it is simple, fast, gentle, and has little effect on the loaded protein owing to the cilia motility. The immobilized BMP-2 (i-BMP-2) on the surface of homogeneous PGMA polymer brushes exhibits excellent bioactivity (⁓87% bioactivity of free BMP-2 in vitro and 20%–50% higher than scaffolds with free BMP-2 in vivo), with conformation and secondary structure well-preserved after covalent immobilization and ethanol sterilization. Moreover, the osteogenic activity of i-BMP-2 on the nanoline pattern (PGMA-poly (N-isopropylacrylamide)) shows ⁓110% bioactivity of free BMP-2. This is superior compared to conventional protein covalent immobilization strategies in terms of both bioactivity preservation and therapeutic efficacy. PGMA polymer brushes can be used to modify surfaces of different tissue-engineered scaffolds, which facilitates in situ immobilization of growth factors, and accelerates repair of a wide range of tissue types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-562
Number of pages12
JournalBioactive Materials
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Bioactivity
  • Poly (glycidyl methacrylate)
  • Polymer brush
  • Protein immobilization
  • Surface modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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