MDA-MB-231 and HeLa cells attachment to nanostructured zein surfaces

Hemiao Cui, Ying Qin, Gang L. Liu, Graciela W. Padua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Detection and characterization of tumor cells are important for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Various surface attachment methods have been proposed for the capture and enumeration of cancer cells, including immunoaffinity and nanostructured surfaces. Zein, a corn protein, has shown good biocompatibility with human liver cells (HL-7702) and mice fibroblasts (NIH3T3). In previous work, it was found that tissue transglutaminase coated on zein substrates enhanced adhesion and spreading of NIH3T3 fibroblast cells. In the present study, cancer cell adhesion to nanostructured zein substrates was investigated. MDA-MB-231 and HeLa cells were used as cancer cell surrogates. MDA-MB-231 cell immobilization was enhanced on zein films, prepared with 80% ethanol, over glass surfaces. The application of tissue transglutaminase onto nanostructured zein substrates further increased cell spreading and adhesion. Cell immobilization increased linearly with the tissue transglutaminase content of the substrate. The effect of substrate morphology was also investigated by seeding cells on electrospun zein fibers. HeLa cell adhesion was also enhanced by zein substrates. This study provided preliminary supporting evidence for developing a zein platform for circulating tumor cells’ immobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-370
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • HeLa cells
  • MDA-MB-231 cells
  • Zein
  • biocompatibility
  • cell adhesion
  • cell spreading
  • tissue transglutaminase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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