Matrix molecules convey biochemical and physical guiding signals to neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) and shape the trajectory of neuronal fibers that constitute neural networks. We have developed recombinant human IgMs that bind to epitopes on neural cells, with the aim of treating neurological diseases. Here we test the hypothesis that recombinant human IgMs (rHIgM) can guide neurite outgrowth of CNS neurons. Microcontact printing was employed to pattern rHIgM12 and rHIgM22, antibodies that were bioengineered to have variable regions capable of binding to neurons or oligodendrocytes, respectively. rHIgM12 promoted neuronal attachment and guided outgrowth of neurites from hippocampal neurons. Processes from spinal neurons followed grid patterns of rHIgM12 and formed a physical network. Comparison between rHIgM12 and rHIgM22 suggested the biochemistry that facilitates anchoring the neuronal surfaces is a prerequisite for the function of IgM, and spatial properties cooperate in guiding the assembly of neuronal networks.
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