Cell-adhesive ligands organized on nanoscale synthetic biomaterials can potentially recapitulate the nanoscale organization of extracellular matrix and the consequent effects of cell dynamics. In this study, 100 nm albumin nanocarriers (ANC) were fabricated to serve as nanoscale organizational units for a well-defined ligand, the recombinant fragment from fibronectin comprised of the RGD-containing module 10 and the synergy-region-containing module 9. Conventional protein conjugation chemistry was employed to fabricate nanocarriers with increasing levels of displayed ligand. Presentation of ligand-functionalized ANCs adsorbed onto substrates was found to enhance keratinocyte attachment when compared to equivalent levels of adsorbed ligands, supported by ELISA data that the display of ligand on ANCs essentially increased the accessibility of the cell-binding domain and AFM data that the ligand was likely exposed due to ligand-ANC repulsion. The ligand presentation from ANCs converted the cellular morphology from a stationary phenotype to a motile phenotype, with the expression of filopodia-like microextensions, and a decrease in focal adhesions, indicating decreased cell adhesion strength. Consequently, cell motility was found to be significantly elevated on ligand-ANC substrates relative to substrates with equivalent levels of ligand. Overall, the ligand-functionalized albumin nanocarriers offer a unique model platform with two distinct properties: enhanced ligand exposure for enhancement of cell attachment to ligands at low concentrations; and enhanced cell detachment, motile phenotype, and migration kinetics.
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|Published - 2006