Functionalized Graphene as Extracellular Matrix Mimics: Toward Well-Defined 2D Nanomaterials for Multivalent Virus Interactions
M. F. Gholami, D. Lauster, K. Ludwig, J. Storm, B. Ziem, N. Severin, C. Böttcher, J. P. Rabe, A. Herrmann, M. Adeli and R. Haag – 2017
Polysulfated nanomaterials that mimic the extracellular cell matrix are of great interest for their potential to modulate cellular responses and to bind and neutralize pathogens. However, control over the density of active functional groups on such biomimetics is essential for efficient interactions, and this remains a challenge. In this regard, producing polysulfated graphene derivatives with control over their functionality is an intriguing accomplishment in order to obtain highly effective 2D platforms for pathogen interactions. Here, a facile and efficient method for the controlled attachment of a heparin sulfate mimic on the surface of graphene is reported. Dichlorotriazine groups are conjugated to the surface of graphene by a one-pot [2+1] nitrene cycloaddition reaction at ambient conditions, providing derivatives with defined functionality. Consecutive step by step conjugation of hyperbranched polyglycerol to the dichlorotriazine groups and eventual conversion to the polyglycerol sulfate result in the graphene based heparin biomimetics. Scanning force microscopy, cryo-transmission electron microscopy, and in vitro bioassays reveal strong interactions between the functionalized graphene (thoroughly covered by a sulfated polymer) and vesicular stomatitis virus. Infection experiments with highly sulfated versions of graphene drastically promote the infection process, leading to higher viral titers compared to nonsulfated analogues.