N-Cadherin modified lipid bilayers promote neural network formation and circuitry†
Neural adhesion, maturation, and the correct wiring of the brain to establish each neuron's intended connectivity are controlled by complex interactions of bioactive molecules such as ligands, growth factors, or enzymes. The correct pairing of adjacent neurons is thought to be highly regulated by ligand-mediated cell–cell adhesion proteins, which are known to induce signaling activities. We developed a new platform consisting of supported lipid bilayers incorporated with Fc-chimera synaptic proteins like ephrinA5 or N-cadherin. We extensively characterized their function employing a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D), calcium imaging, and immunofluorescence analysis. Our biomimetic platform has been shown to promote neural cell adhesion and to improve neural maturation at day in vitro 7 (DIV7) as indicated by an elevated expression of synaptophysin.