Responsive biomimetic networks from polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels

Kouwer, Paul H. J., Koepf, Matthieu, Le Sage, Vincent A. A., Jaspers, Maarten, van Buul, Arend M., Eksteen-Akeroyd, Zaskia H., Woltinge, Tim, Schwartz, Erik, Kitto, Heather J., Hoogenboom, Richard, Picken, Stephen J., Nolte, Roeland J. M., Mendes, Eduardo and Rowan, Alan E. (2013) Responsive biomimetic networks from polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels. Nature, 493 7434: 651-655. doi:10.1038/nature11839

Author Kouwer, Paul H. J.
Koepf, Matthieu
Le Sage, Vincent A. A.
Jaspers, Maarten
van Buul, Arend M.
Eksteen-Akeroyd, Zaskia H.
Woltinge, Tim
Schwartz, Erik
Kitto, Heather J.
Hoogenboom, Richard
Picken, Stephen J.
Nolte, Roeland J. M.
Mendes, Eduardo
Rowan, Alan E.
Title Responsive biomimetic networks from polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels
Journal name Nature   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-0836
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nature11839
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 493
Issue 7434
Start page 651
End page 655
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Abstract Mechanical responsiveness is essential to all biological systems down to the level of tissues and cells. The intra-and extracellular mechanics of such systems are governed by a series of proteins, such as microtubules, actin, intermediate filaments and collagen. As a general design motif, these proteins self-assemble into helical structures and superstructures that differ in diameter and persistence length to cover the full mechanical spectrum. Gels of cytoskeletal proteins display particular mechanical responses (stress stiffening) that until now have been absent in synthetic polymeric and low-molar-mass gels. Here we present synthetic gels that mimic in nearly all aspects gels prepared from intermediate filaments. They are prepared from polyisocyanopeptides grafted with oligo(ethylene glycol) side chains. These responsive polymers possess a stiff and helical architecture, and show a tunable thermal transition where the chains bundle together to generate transparent gels at extremely low concentrations. Using characterization techniques operating at different length scales (for example, macroscopic rheology, atomic force microscopy and molecular force spectroscopy) combined with an appropriate theoretical network model, we establish the hierarchical relationship between the bulk mechanical properties and the single-molecule parameters. Our results show that to develop artificial cytoskeletal or extracellular matrix mimics, the essential design parameters are not only the molecular stiffness, but also the extent of bundling. In contrast to the peptidic materials, our polyisocyanide polymers are readily modified, giving a starting point for functional biomimetic hydrogels with potentially a wide variety of applications, in particular in the biomedical field.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID NWO-CW-7005644
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology Publications
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