Indexed on: 06 Jul '11Published on: 06 Jul '11Published in: Macromolecular Bioscience
Engineering surfaces of living cells with natural or synthetic compounds can mediate intercellular communication and provide a protective barrier from hostile agents. We report on truly nonionic hydrogen-bonded LbL coatings for cell surface engineering. These ultrathin, highly permeable polymer membranes are constructed on living cells without the cationic component typically employed to increase the stability of LbL coatings. Without the cytotoxic cationic PEI pre-layer, the viability of encapsulated cells drastically increases to 94%, in contrast to 20% viability in electrostatically-bonded LbL shells. Moreover, the long-term growth of encapsulated cells is not affected, thus facilitating efficient function of protected cells in hostile environment.