A Lysinated Thiophene-Based Semiconductor as a Multifunctional Neural Bioorganic Interface

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Lysinated molecular organic semiconductors are introduced as valuable multifunctional platforms for neural cells growth and interfacing. Cast films of quaterthiophene (T4) semiconductor covalently modified with lysine-end moieties (T4Lys) are fabricated and their stability, morphology, optical/electrical, and biocompatibility properties are characterized. T4Lys films exhibit fluorescence and electronic transport as generally observed for unsubstituted oligothiophenes combined to humidity-activated ionic conduction promoted by the charged lysine-end moieties. The Lys insertion in T4 enables adhesion of primary culture of rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG), which is not achievable by plating cells on T4. Notably, on T4Lys, the number on adhering neurons/area is higher and displays a twofold longer neurite length than neurons plated on glass coated with poly-l-lysine. Finally, by whole-cell patch-clamp, it is shown that the biofunctionality of neurons cultured on T4Lys is preserved. The present study introduces an innovative concept for organic material neural interface that combines optical and iono-electronic functionalities with improved biocompatibility and neuron affinity promoted by Lys linkage and the softness of organic semiconductors. Lysinated organic semiconductors could set the scene for the fabrication of simplified bioorganic devices geometry for cells bidirectional communication or optoelectronic control of neural cells biofunctionality.

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