Design of modular gellan gum hydrogel functionalized with avidin and biotinylated adhesive ligands for cell culture applications
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This article proposes the coupling of the recombinant protein avidin to the polysaccharide gellan gum to create a modular hydrogel substrate for 3D cell culture and tissue engineering. Avidin is capable of binding biotin, and thus biotinylated compounds can be tethered to the polymer network to improve cell response. The avidin is successfully conjugated to gellan gum and remains functional as shown with fluorescence titration and electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Self-standing hydrogels were formed using bioamines and calcium chloride, yielding long-term stability and adequate stiffness for 3D cell culture, as confirmed with compression testing. Human fibroblasts were successfully cultured within the hydrogel treated with biotinylated RGD or biotinylated fibronectin. Moreover, human bone marrow stromal cells were cultured with hydrogel treated with biotinylated RGD over 3 weeks. We demonstrate a modular and inexpensive hydrogel scaffold for cell encapsulation that can be equipped with any desired biotinylated cell ligand to accommodate a wide range of cell types.