Designing ECM-mimetic Materials Using Protein Engineering.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USAActa biomaterialia (Impact Factor: 6.03). 12/2013; 10(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.12.028
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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ABSTRACT: Injectable hydrogels have become an incredibly prolific area of research in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, because of their high water content, mechanical similarity to natural tissues, and ease of surgical implantation, hydrogels are at the forefront of biomedical scaffold and drug carrier design. The aim of this review is to concisely summarise current state-of-the-art in natural and synthetic hydrogels with respect to their synthesis and fabrication, comparing and contrasting the many chemistries available for biomedical hydrogel generation using both biologic and synthetic base materials. We then discuss these hydrogels in the specific instance of several pertinent areas of TERM which have been specifically selected to demonstrate how this versatile class of materials can be modified to augment damage and disease of a seemingly limitless array of adult tissues.
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ABSTRACT: A major challenge in vascular engineering is the establishment of proper microenvironment to guide the spatial organization, growth, and extracellular matrix (ECM) productions of cells found in blood vessels. In the current study, micropatterned fibrous mats with distinct ridges and grooves of different width were created to load smooth muscle cells (SMCs), which were assembled by stacking on vascular endothelial cell (EC)-loaded flat fibrous mats to mimic the in vivo-like organized structure of blood vessels. SMCs were mainly distributed in the ridges, and aligned fibers in the patterned regions led to the formation of elongated cell bodies, intense actin filaments, and expressions of collagen I and α-smooth muscle actin in a parallel direction with fibers. ECs spread over the flat fibrous mats and expressed collagen IV and laminin with a cobblestone-like feature. A z-stack scanning of fluorescently stained fibrous mats indicated that SMCs effectively infiltrated into fibrous scaffolds at the depth of around 200 μm. Compared with SMCs cultured alone, the coculture with ECs enhanced the proliferation, infiltration and cytoskeleton elongation of SMCs on patterned fibrous mats. Although the coculture of SMCs made no significant difference in the EC growth, the coculture system on patterned fibrous scaffolds promoted ECM productions of both ECs and SMCs. Thus, this patterned fibrous configuration not only offers a promising technology in the design of tissue engineering scaffolds to construct blood vessels with durable mechanical properties, but also provides a platform for patterned coculture to investigate cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions in highly organized tissues.
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