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We introduce an approach based on particle lithography to prepare spatially selective surface platforms of organosilanes that are suitable for nanoscale studies of protein binding. Particle lithography was applied for patterning fibrinogen, a plasma protein that has a major role in the clotting cascade for blood coagulation and wound healing. Surface nanopatterns of mercaptosilanes were designed as sites for the attachment of fibrinogen within a protein-resistant matrix of 2-[methoxy(polyethyleneoxy)propyl] trichlorosilane (PEG-silane). Preparing site-selective surfaces was problematic in our studies, because of the self-reactive properties of PEG-organosilanes. Certain organosilanes presenting hydroxyl head groups will cross react to form mixed surface multi-layers. We developed a clever strategy with particle lithography using masks of silica mesospheres to protect small, discrete regions of the surface from cross reactions. Images acquired with atomic force microscopy (AFM) disclose that fibrinogen attached primarily to the surface areas presenting thiol head groups, which were surrounded by PEG-silane. The activity for binding anti-fibrinogen was further evaluated using ex situ AFM studies, confirming that after immobilization the fibrinogen nanopatterns retained capacity for binding immunoglobulin G. Studies with AFM provide advantages of achieving nanoscale resolution for detecting surface changes during steps of biochemical surface reactions, without requiring chemical modification of proteins or fluorescent labels. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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