Peptide nanofiber substrates for long-term culturing of primary neurons

Adam D. Martin*, Sook Wern Chua, Carol G. Au, Holly Stefen, Magdalena Przybyla, Yijun Lin, Josefine Bertz, Pall Thordarson, Thomas Fath, Yazi D. Ke, Lars M. Ittner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The culturing of primary neurons represents a central pillar of neuroscience research. Primary neurons are derived directly from brain tissue and recapitulate key aspects of neuronal development in an in vitro setting. Unlike neural stem cells, primary neurons do not divide; thus, initial attachment of cells to a suitable substrate is critical. Commonly used polylysine substrates can suffer from batch variability owing to their polymeric nature. Herein, we report the use of chemically well-defined, self-assembling tetrapeptides as substrates for primary neuronal culture. These water-soluble peptides assemble into fibers which facilitate adhesion and development of primary neurons, their long-term survival (>40 days), synaptic maturation, and electrical activity. Furthermore, these substrates are permissive toward neuronal transfection and transduction which, coupled with their uniformity and reproducible nature, make them suitable for a wide variety of applications in neuroscience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25127-25134
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • cell culture
  • neuroscience
  • self-assembling peptides
  • tissue engineering


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