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Artificial Hagfish Protein Fibers with Ultra-High and Tunable Stiffness


Stiff fibers are used as reinforcing phases in a wide range of high-performance composite materials. Silk is one of the most widely studied bio-fibers, but alternative materials with specific advantages are also being explored. Among these, native hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii) slime thread is an attractive protein-based polymer. These threads consist of coiled-coil intermediate filaments (IFs) as nano-scale building blocks, which can be transformed into extended β-sheet-containing chains upon draw-processing, resulting in fibers with impressive mechanical performance. Here, we report on artificial hagfish threads produced by recombinant protein expression, which were subsequently self-assembled into coiled-coil nanofilaments, concentrated, and processed into β-sheet-rich fibers by a “picking-up” method. These artificial fibers experienced mechanical performance enhancement during draw-processing. We exploited the Lysine content to covalently cross-link the draw-processed fibers and obtained moduli values (E) in tension as high as ~20 GPa, which is stiffer than most reported artificial proteinaceous materials.

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Apr 2017, accepted on 07 Aug 2017 and first published on 09 Aug 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02527K
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Artificial Hagfish Protein Fibers with Ultra-High and Tunable Stiffness

    J. Fu, P. Guerette, A. Pavesi, N. Horbelt, C. T. Lim, M. J. Harrington and A. Miserez, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02527K

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