The cell membrane is an important interface for communication with extracellular events, and incorporation of bioactive substances, such as antibodies and receptors, into the cell membrane may enhance the potential abilities of cells. Gene manipulation, chemical modification of membrane proteins, and cell surface painting using a GPI anchor have been performed to introduce substances into cell membranes. Furthermore, many lipid anchors have also been used to modify lipid membranes such as liposomes. In this study, we have focused on developing an easy and rapid method for anchoring of substances including macromolecular proteins into the membranes of living mammalian cells. We employed a single oleyl chain derivative coupled with hydrophilic poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG90, the ethyleneoxide (EO) unit is 90) to facilitate solubilization in water. This water-soluble derivative was designated Biocompatible Anchor for Membrane (BAM). Some proteins (streptavidin, EGFP and an antibody) were coupled with BAM90 at the distal terminal of PEG and rapidly (within a few minutes) anchored into the membranes of various cells (NIH3T3, 32D, Ba/F3, hybridoma 9E10). However, the anchored BAM90 disappeared from the cell membranes within 4–5 h in serum-free culture media, and moreover, the retention time of anchoring was shortened (1–2 h) in culture medium containing 10% FBS. We further prepared a dioleylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE)-PEG derivative (DOPE-BAM80, the EO unit is 80) as a double oleyl chain derivative for comparison with the single oleyl chain derivative, BAM90. The retention time of anchored DOPE-BAM80 was longer than that of BAM90 and more than 8 h in culture media with and without 10% serum. Furthermore, the treatment time of DOPE-BAM80 for anchoring was nearly as short (within a few minutes) as that of BAM90. In addition, both types of BAMs, BAM90 and DOPE-BAM80, showed no cytotoxicity. Therefore, DOPE-BAM80 is useful for protein anchoring to cells. Although the utilization of BAM90 is considered to be limited, it is expected to useful in restricted environments, for example, in tissues such as the cornea, peritoneum, bladder, and various mucosae, which are less exposed to serum. Thus, we suggest the possibility that both types of BAM can be applied to cell surface engineering.
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