Supplementary methods and figures from Effect of calcium ions and pH on the morphology and mechanical properties of hyaluronan brushes
2018-12-31T11:54:00Z (GMT) by
Hyaluronan (HA) is a linear, regular polysaccharide that plays as a chief structural and functional component in peri- and extracellular matrices, thus contributing significantly to many basic cellular processes. To understand more comprehensively the response of the supramolecular organization of HA polymers to changes in their aqueous environment, we study the effects of Ca2+ concentration and pH on the morphology and viscoelasticity of films of end-grafted HA polymers on planar supports (HA brushes), as a well-defined in vitro model system of HA-rich matrices, by reflection interference contrast microscopy and quartz crystal microbalance. The thickness and softness of HA brushes decrease significantly with Ca2+ concentration but do not change with pH, within the physiological ranges of these parameters. The effect of Ca2+ on HA brush thickness is virtually identical to the effect of Na+ at 10-fold higher concentrations. Moreover, the thickness and softness of HA brushes decrease appreciably upon HA protonation at pH less than 6. Effects of pH and calcium ions are fully reversible over large parameter ranges. These findings are relevant for understanding the supramolecular organization and dynamics of HA-rich matrices in biological systems and will also benefit the rational design of synthetic HA-rich materials with tailored properties.