Surface display of biomolecules on live cells offers new opportunities to treat human diseases and perform basic studies. Existing methods are primarily focused on monovalent functionalization, that is, the display of single biomolecules across the cell surface. Here we show that the surface of live cells can be functionalized to display polyvalent biomolecular structures through two-step reactions under physiological conditions. This polyvalent functionalization enables the cell surface to recognize the microenvironment one order of magnitude more effectively than with monovalent functionalization. Thus, polyvalent display of biomolecules on live cells holds great potential for various biological and biomedical applications.
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