Issue 26, 2021

Self-assembly of stimuli-responsive coiled-coil fibrous hydrogels

Abstract

Owing to their tunable properties, hydrogels comprised of stimuli-sensitive polymers are one of the most appealing scaffolds with applications in tissue engineering, drug delivery and other biomedical fields. We previously reported a thermoresponsive hydrogel formed using a coiled-coil protein, Q. Here, we expand our studies to identify the gelation of Q protein at distinct pH conditions, creating a protein hydrogel system that is sensitive to temperature and pH. Through secondary structure analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and rheology, we observed that Q self-assembles and forms fiber-based hydrogels exhibiting upper critical solution temperature behavior with increased elastic properties at pH 7.4 and pH 10. At pH 6, however, Q forms polydisperse nanoparticles, which do not further self-assemble and undergo gelation. The high net positive charge of Q at pH 6 creates significant electrostatic repulsion, preventing its gelation. This study will potentially guide the development of novel scaffolds and functional biomaterials that are sensitive towards biologically relevant stimuli.

Graphical abstract: Self-assembly of stimuli-responsive coiled-coil fibrous hydrogels

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Paper
Submitted
26 May 2021
Accepted
11 Jun 2021
First published
11 Jun 2021

Soft Matter, 2021,17, 6470-6476

Self-assembly of stimuli-responsive coiled-coil fibrous hydrogels

M. Meleties, P. Katyal, B. Lin, D. Britton and J. K. Montclare, Soft Matter, 2021, 17, 6470 DOI: 10.1039/D1SM00780G

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