Designing ECM-mimetic Materials Using Protein Engineering.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Acta biomaterialia (Impact Factor: 6.03). 12/2013; 10(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.12.028
Source: PubMed


The natural extracellular matrix (ECM), with its multitude of evolved cell-instructive and cell-responsive properties, provides inspiration and guidelines for the design of engineered biomaterials. One strategy to create ECM-mimetic materials is the modular design of protein-based engineered ECM (eECM) scaffolds. This modular design strategy involves combining multiple protein domains with different functionalities into a single, modular polymer sequence, resulting in a multifunctional matrix with independent tunability of the individual domain functions. These eECMs often enable decoupled control over multiple material properties for fundamental studies of cell-matrix interactions. In addition, since the eECMs are frequently composed entirely of bioresorbable amino acids, these matrices have immense clinical potential for a variety of regenerative medicine applications. This brief review demonstrates how fundamental knowledge gained from structure-function studies of native proteins can be exploited in the design of novel protein-engineered biomaterials. While the field of protein-engineered biomaterials has existed for over 20 years, the community is only now beginning to fully explore the diversity of functional peptide modules that can be incorporated into these materials. We have chosen to highlight recent examples that either (1) demonstrate exemplary use as matrices with cell-instructive and cell-responsive properties or (2) demonstrate outstanding creativity in terms of novel molecular-level design and macro-level functionality.

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