Biomineralization is a bottom-up synthesis process that results in the formation of inorganic/organic nanocomposites with unrivaled control over structure, superior mechanical properties, adaptive response, and the capability of self-repair. While de novo design of such highly optimized materials may still be out of reach, engineering of the biosynthetic machinery may offer an alternative route to design advanced materials. Herein, we present an approach using micro-contact-printed lectins for patterning sea urchin embryo primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs) in vitro. We demonstrate not only that PMCs cultured on these substrates show attachment to wheat germ agglutinin and concanavalin A patterns but, more importantly, that the deposition and elongation of calcite spicules occurs cooperatively by multiple cells and in alignment with the printed pattern. This allows us to control the placement and orientation of smooth, cylindrical calcite single crystals where the crystallographic c-direction is parallel to the cylinder axis and the underlying line pattern.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry