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Issue 8, 2011
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Emerging area: biomaterials that mimic and exploit protein motion

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Traditional dynamic hydrogels have been designed to respond to changes in physicochemical inputs, such as pH and temperature, for a wide range of biomedical applications. An emerging strategy that may allow for more specific “bio-responsiveness” in synthetic hydrogels involves mimicking or exploiting nature's dynamic proteins. Hundreds of proteins are known to undergo pronounced conformational changes in response to specific biochemical triggers, and these responses represent a potentially attractive toolkit for design of dynamic materials. This “emerging area” review focuses on the use of protein motions as a new paradigm for design of dynamic hydrogels. In particular, the review emphasizes early examples of dynamic hydrogels that harness well-known protein motions. These examples then serve as templates to discuss challenges and suggest emerging directions in the field. Successful early examples of this approach, coupled with the fundamental properties of nature's protein motions, suggest that protein-based materials may ultimately achieve specific, multiplexed responses to a range of biochemical triggers. Applications of this new class of materials include drug delivery, biosensing, bioactuation, and tissue engineering.

Graphical abstract: Emerging area: biomaterials that mimic and exploit protein motion

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The article was received on 20 Nov 2010, accepted on 22 Dec 2010 and first published on 03 Feb 2011

Article type: Emerging Area
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01351J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2011,7, 3679-3688

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    Emerging area: biomaterials that mimic and exploit protein motion

    W. L. Murphy, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 3679
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01351J

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