Engineering a biospecific communication pathway between cells and electrodes

Joel H. Collier, Milan Mrksich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Methods for transducing the cellular activities of mammalian cells into measurable electronic signals are important in many biotechnical applications, including biosensors, cell arrays, and other cell-based devices. This manuscript describes an approach for functionally integrating cellular activities and electrical processes in an underlying substrate. The cells are engineered with a cell-surface chimeric receptor that presents the nonmammalian enzyme cutinase. Action of this cell-surface cutinase on enzyme substrate self-assembled monolayers switches a nonelectroactive hydroxyphenyl ester to an electroactive hydroquinone, providing an electrical activity that can be identified with cyclic voltammetry. In this way, cell-surface enzymatic activity is transduced into electronic signals. The development of strategies to directly interface the activities of cells with materials will be important to enabling a broad class of hybrid microsystems that combine living and nonliving components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2021-2025
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 14 2006


  • Biomaterial
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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