Submolecular Ligand Size and Spacing for Cell Adhesion

Yuri Kim, Thomas Myeongseok Koo, Ramar Thangam, Myeong Soo Kim, Woo Young Jang, Nayeon Kang, Sunhong Min, Seong Yeol Kim, Letao Yang, Hyunsik Hong, Hee Joon Jung, Eui Kwan Koh, Kapil D. Patel, Sungkyu Lee, Hong En Fu, Yoo Sang Jeon, Bum Chul Park, Soo Young Kim, Steve Park, Junmin LeeLuo Gu, Dong Hyun Kim, Tae Hyung Kim, Ki Bum Lee, Woong Kyo Jeong, Ramasamy Paulmurugan, Young Keun Kim, Heemin Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Cell adhesion occurs when integrin recognizes and binds to Arg–Gly–Asp (RGD) ligands present in fibronectin. In this work, submolecular ligand size and spacing are tuned via template-mediated in situ growth of nanoparticles for dynamic macrophage modulation. To tune liganded gold nanoparticle (GNP) size and spacing from 3 to 20 nm, in situ localized assemblies of GNP arrays on nanomagnetite templates are engineered. 3 nm-spaced ligands stimulate the binding of integrin, which mediates macrophage-adhesion-assisted pro-regenerative polarization as compared to 20 nm-spaced ligands, which can be dynamically anchored to the substrate for stabilizing integrin binding and facilitating dynamic macrophage adhesion. Increasing the ligand size from 7 to 20 nm only slightly promotes macrophage adhesion, not observed with 13 nm-sized ligands. Increasing the ligand spacing from 3 to 17 nm significantly hinders macrophage adhesion that induces inflammatory polarization. Submolecular tuning of ligand spacing can dominantly modulate host macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2110340
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 7

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • cell adhesion
  • ligand size
  • ligand spacing
  • macrophage modulation
  • nanoassemblies
  • submolecular ligands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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