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Issue 3, 2013
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Resilin-like polypeptide hydrogels engineered for versatile biological function

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Abstract

Natural resilin, the rubber-like protein that exists in specialized compartments of most arthropods, possesses excellent mechanical properties such as low stiffness, high resilience and effective energy storage. Recombinantly engineered resilin-like polypeptides (RLPs) that possess the favorable attributes of native resilin would be attractive candidates for the modular design of biomaterials for engineering mechanically active tissues. Based on our previous success in creating a novel RLP-based hydrogel and demonstrating useful mechanical and cell-adhesive properties, we have produced a suite of new RLP-based constructs, each equipped with 12 repeats of the putative resilin consensus sequence and a single, distinct biologically active domain. This approach allows independent control over the concentrations of cell-binding, MMP-sensitive, and polysaccharide-sequestration domains in hydrogels comprising mixtures of the various RLPs. The high purity, molecular weight and correct compositions of each new polypeptide have been confirmed via high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS), and amino acid analysis. These RLP-based polypeptides exhibit largely random-coil conformation, both in solution and in the cross-linked hydrogels, as indicated by circular dichroic and infrared spectroscopic analyses. Hydrogels of various compositions, with a range of elastic moduli (1–25 kPa), can be produced from these polypeptides, and the activity of the cell-binding and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) sensitive domains was confirmed. Tris(hydroxymethyl phosphine) cross-linked RLP hydrogels were able to maintain their mechanical integrity as well as the viability of encapsulated primary human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These results validate the promising properties of these RLP-based elastomeric biomaterials.

Graphical abstract: Resilin-like polypeptide hydrogels engineered for versatile biological function

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Aug 2012, accepted on 05 Oct 2012 and first published on 02 Nov 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26812D
Citation: Soft Matter, 2013,9, 665-673
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    Resilin-like polypeptide hydrogels engineered for versatile biological function

    L. Li, Z. Tong, X. Jia and K. L. Kiick, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 665
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26812D

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