Peptide-Functionalized Nanostructured Microarchitectures Enable Rapid Mechanotransductive Differentiation

Zongjie Wang, Libing Zhang, Mahmoud Labib, Haijie Chen, Mingyang Wei, Mahla Poudineh, Brenda J. Green, Bill Duong, Jagotamoy Das, Sharif Ahmed, Edward H. Sargent, Shana O. Kelley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Microenvironmental factors play critical roles in regulating stem cell fate, providing a rationale to engineer biomimetic microenvironments that facilitate rapid and effective stem cell differentiation. Three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical microarchitectures have been developed to enable rapid neural differentiation of multipotent human mesenchymal stromal cells (HMSCs) via mechanotransduction. However, low cell viability during long-term culture and poor cell recovery efficiency from the architectures were also observed. Such problems hinder further applications of the architectures in stem cell differentiation. Here, we present improved 3D nanostructured microarchitectures functionalized with cell-adhesion-promoting arginylglycylaspartic acid (RGD) peptides. These RGD-functionalized architectures significantly upregulated long-term cell viability and facilitated effective recovery of differentiated cells from the architectures while maintaining high differentiation efficiency. Efficient recovery of highly viable differentiated cells enabled the downstream analysis of morphology and protein expression to be performed. Remarkably, even after the removal of the mechanical stimulus provided by the 3D microarchitectures, the recovered HMSCs showed a neuron-like elongated morphology for 10 days and consistently expressed microtubule-associated protein 2, a mature neural marker. RGD-functionalized nanostructured microarchitectures hold great potential to guide effective differentiation of highly viable stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41030-41037
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 6 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • electrodeposition
  • mechanobiology
  • nanostructured microarchitecture
  • neural differentiation
  • RGD peptides
  • stem cell bioengineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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