Neurotransmitter analog tethered to a silicon platform for neuro-BioMEMS applications

Barrett J. Nehilla, Ketul C. Popat, Tania Q. Vu, Sarwat Chowdhury, Robert F. Standaert, David R. Pepperberg, Tejal A. Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The design of chemically well-defined, machinable surfaces containing neuroactive molecules offers potential for fundamental neuroscience and clinical neural engineering applications. Here we report the assembly and characterization of silicon platforms containing a tethered form of muscimol. Muscimol, an analog of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), is a potent agonist at postsynaptic GABAA and GABA C receptors. Surfaces were assembled using covalent avidin conjugation to silanized silicon followed by high-affinity avidin-biotin binding of a biotinylated derivative of muscimol (muscimol-biotin). Contact angle measurements, ellipsometry, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were conducted to characterize the wettability, thickness, and chemical composition of progressively deposited surface layers. The data demonstrate successful incorporation of a neurotransmitter analog as part of a layered, silicon-based structure possessing robust and specific biomolecular composition. These findings represent a step toward the design of platforms for applications involving control and modulation of neural signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-674
Number of pages6
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 5 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Avidin-biotin
  • BioMEMS
  • Muscimol
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Silicon
  • Surface analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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