Directing GPCR-transfected cells and neuronal projections with nano-scale resolution.
Surface modification technology has made significant advances in recent years towards the miniaturization and organization of traditional cell culture systems. However, the capability of directing transfected cells and neuronal connections to probe small structures such as spines is still under development. In the current work, interactions of different micropatterned substrates with HEK 293, CF10 cell lines, and primary neuronal cultures are evaluated. Using conventional and confocal fluorescence microscopies, several morphological and behavioral aspects of all three cell types were investigated. The immortalized cell lines were able to attach to the substrate and interact with neighboring cells. Similarly, cortical neurons formed connections guided by the micropatterns. Transfection of HEK 293 or CF10 cell lines with specific members of the G protein-coupled receptor family did not alter the behavior of these cells in the micropatterns. On the other hand, neuronal projections were efficiently isolated by the patterns, simplifying the localization of spines with nano-scale resolution probed by atomic force microscopy. This work presents a valuable approach to isolate cells or to constrain important cell structures to grow along a desired pattern, thus facilitating advanced biological studies.