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Integrated approach to accelerate biomimetic material engineering

An integrated platform that combines RNA-seq with standard proteomics and materials science approaches could accelerate the development of new biomimetic materials. The platform involves generating a transcriptome database for a tissue of interest using RNA-seq and then using proteomics tools to identify the sequence and structure of relevant proteins that have a desired function or property. The approach was used to identify a shock-absorbing elastomer protein from the egg capsule of a marine snail, an underwater adhesive protein from the byssal complex of a mussel and a silk-like protein from squid sucker ring teeth. Recombinant forms of the silk-like protein were generated and used to build surfaces and films with elastic moduli and stiffness superior to those of many other engineered polymers. Next steps include testing the engineered biomaterials as scaffolds in cell and tissue cultures and evaluating their in vivo biocompatibility and degradation rates.

SciBX 6(39); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1111
Published online Oct. 10, 2013

Patent and licensing status undisclosed

Guerette, P.A. et al. Nat. Biotechnol.; published online Sept. 8, 2013;
Contact: Ali Miserez, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore