New opportunities for an ancient material.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 07/2010; 329(5991):528-31. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188936
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Spiders and silkworms generate silk protein fibers that embody strength and beauty. Orb webs are fascinating feats of bioengineering in nature, displaying magnificent architectures while providing essential survival utility for spiders. The unusual combination of high strength and extensibility is a characteristic unavailable to date in synthetic materials yet is attained in nature with a relatively simple protein processed from water. This biological template suggests new directions to emulate in the pursuit of new high-performance, multifunctional materials generated with a green chemistry and processing approach. These bio-inspired and high-technology materials can lead to multifunctional material platforms that integrate with living systems for medical materials and a host of other applications.

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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to develop the pathway of silk fibroin (SF) biopolymer surface induced cell membrane protein activation. Fibroblasts were used as an experimental model to evaluate the responses of cellular proteins induced by biopolymer material using a mass spectrometry-based profiling system. The surface was covered by multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and SF to increase the surface area, enhance the adhesion of biopolymer, and promote the rate of cell proliferation. The amount of adhered fibroblasts on CNTs/SF electrodes of quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) greatly exceeded those on other surfaces. Moreover, analyzing differential protein expressions of adhered fibroblasts on the biopolymer surface by proteomic approaches indicated that CD44 may be a key protein. Through this study, utilization of mass spectrometry-based proteomics in evaluation of cell adhesion on biopolymer was proposed.
    03/2014; 2014:209469. DOI:10.1155/2014/209469
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    ABSTRACT: In this topical review we discuss recent advances in the use of physical insight into the way biological materials function, to design novel engineered materials 'from scratch', or from the level of fundamental building blocks upwards and by using computational multiscale methods that link chemistry to material function. We present studies that connect advances in multiscale hierarchical material structuring with material synthesis and testing, review case studies of wood and other biological materials, and illustrate how engineered fiber composites and bulk materials are designed, modeled, and then synthesized and tested experimentally. The integration of experiment and simulation in multiscale design opens new avenues to explore the physics of materials from a fundamental perspective, and using complementary strengths from models and empirical techniques. Recent developments in this field illustrate a new paradigm by which complex material functionality is achieved through hierarchical structuring in spite of simple material constituents.
    Journal of Physics Condensed Matter 01/2014; 26(7):073101. DOI:10.1088/0953-8984/26/7/073101 · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regenerated silk fibroin solutions (RSF) are produced by dissolving degummed silk fibers in water. We have observed that RSF solutions at a concentration less than 15 % by weight exhibit an unusual gel-like response in conventional shear rheology measurements. At higher concentrations, the response is predominantly viscous (or liquid-like). We have probed this counterintuitive behavior of silk fibroin solutions by using microrheology, and interfacial rheometry. Scattering techniques were also used to understand the microstructure of RSF solutions as a function of the concentration. Our studies suggest that the gel-like response of the RSF solution may result from the formation of an interfacial film at the air–solution interface, which dominates the bulk rheological response.
    Rheologica Acta 11/2013; 52(10-12). DOI:10.1007/s00397-013-0723-5 · 1.78 Impact Factor


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