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Acta biomaterialia

Co-immobilization of semaphorin3A and nerve growth factor to guide and pattern axons.


PMID 26391495

Abstract

Immobilization of axon guidance cues offers a powerful tissue regenerative strategy to control the presentation and spatial location of these biomolecules. We use our previously developed immobilization strategy to specifically tether recombinant biotinylated nerve growth factor (bNGF) and biotinylated semaphorin3A (bSema3A) to chitosan films as an outgrowth and guidance platform. DRG neurite length and number for a range of single cues of immobilized bNGF or bSema3A were examined to determine a concentration response. Next single and dual cues of bNGF and bSema3A were immobilized and DRG guidance was assessed in response to a step concentration change from zero. Overall, immobilized groups caused axon extension, retraction and turning depending on the ratio of bNGF and bSema3A immobilized in the encountered region. This response indicated the exquisite sensitivity of DRG axons to both attractive and repulsive tethered cues. bSema3A concentrations of 0.10 and 0.49 ng/mm(2), when co-immobilized with bNGF (at 0.86 and 0.43 ng/mm(2) respectively), caused axons to turn away from the co-immobilized region. Immunocytochemical analysis showed that at these bSema3A concentrations, axons inside the co-immobilized region display microtubule degradation and breakdown of actin filaments. At the lowest bSema3A concentration (0.01 ng/mm(2)) co-immobilized with a higher bNGF concentration (2.16 ng/mm(2)), neurite lengths are shorter in the immobilized area, but bNGF dominates the guidance mechanism as neurites are directed toward the immobilized region. Future applications can pattern these cues in various geometries and gradients in order to better modulate axon guidance in terms of polarity, extension and branching. Nervous system formation and regeneration requires key molecules for guiding the growth cone and nervous system patterning. In vivo these molecules work in conjunction with one another to modulate axon guidance, and often they are tethered to limit spatial distribution. The novelty of this research is that we provide a specific attachment method to immobilize an attractive signal, nerve growth factor, along with an inhibitory cue, semaphorin3A, to a substrate in order to analyze the interplay of these proteins on axon guidance responses. The scientific impact of this manuscript is that we show that dual-cued platforms are necessary in order to finetune and tailor specific axon responses for varying neuronal regenerative purposes.

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