Human fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) was immobilized into the polyhedra. The FGF-2 Protein beads were found to stimulate proliferation and phosphorylation of p44/p42 MAP kinase in cultured fibroblasts. Moreover, cellular responses were blocked by a synthetic inhibitor of the FGF signaling pathway, SU5402, suggesting that FGF-2 Protein beads indeed act through FGF receptors. Furthermore, FGF-2 Protein beads retain potent growth stimulatory properties even after desiccation. In contrast, purified recombinant FGF-2 protein that has been solubilzed in saline completely loses its mitogenic activity after desiccation. We demonstrate that the Protein beads that occlude extracellular signaling proteins are a novel and versatile tool that can be employed to analyze cellular behavior at the single cell level.
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