"Plug-n-Play" Polymer Substrates: Surface Patterning with Reactive-Group-Appended Poly-L-lysine for Biomolecule Adhesion

Jacopo Movilli, Daniele Di Iorio, Andrea Rozzi, Jussi Hiltunen, Roberto Corradini, Jurriaan Huskens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
182 Downloads (Pure)


The immobilization of biomolecules onto polymeric surfaces employed in the fabrication of biomedical and biosensing devices is generally a challenging issue, as the absence of functional groups in such materials does not allow the use of common surface chemistries. Here we report the use of modified poly-l-lysine (PLL) as an effective method for the selective modification of polymeric materials with biomolecules. Cyclic olefin polymer (COP), Ormostamp, and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surfaces were patterned with modified PLLs displaying either biotin or maleimide functional groups. Different patterning techniques were found to provide faithful microscale pattern formation, including micromolding in capillaries (MIMIC) and a hydrogel-based stamping device with micropores. The surface modification and pattern stability were tested with fluorescence microscopy, contact angle and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), showing an effective functionalization of substrates stable for over 20 days. By exploiting the strong biotin–streptavidin interaction or the thiol–maleimide coupling, DNA and PNA probes were displayed successfully on the surface of the materials, and these probes maintained the capability to specifically recognize complementary DNA sequences from solution. The printing of three different PNA-thiol probe molecules in a microarray fashion allowed selective DNA detection from a mixture of DNA analytes, demonstrating that the modified PLL methodology can potentially be used for multiplexed detection of DNA sequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3165-3173
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019


  • polymer substrates
  • surface patterning
  • poly-L-lysine
  • biomolecule adhesion
  • PNA
  • microarrays
  • DNA recognition


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