Lubricin is a glycoprotein found in articular joints which has long been recognized as being an important biological boundary lubricant molecule and, more recently, an impressive antiadhesive that readily self-assembles into a well ordered, polymer brush layer on virtually any substrate. The lubricin molecule possesses an overabundance of anionic charge, a property that is atypical among antiadhesive molecules, that enables its use as a coating for applications involving electrokinetic processes such as electrophoresis and electroosmosis. Coating the surfaces of silica and polymeric microfluidic devices with self-assembled lubricin coatings affords a unique combination of excellent fouling resistance and high charge density that enables notoriously "sticky" biomolecules such as proteins to be used and controlled electrokinetically in the device without complications arising from nonspecific adsorption. Using capillary electrophoresis, we characterized the stability, uniformity, and electrokinetic properties of lubricin coatings applied to silica and PTFE capillaries over a range of run buffer pHs and when exposed to concentrated solutions of protein. In addition, we demonstrate the effectiveness of lubricin as a coating to minimize nonspecific protein adsorption in an electrokinetically controlled polydimethylsiloxane/silica microfluidic device.
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