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Protein-based materials, toward a new level of structural control

van Hest, Jan C. M. and Tirrell, David A. (2001) Protein-based materials, toward a new level of structural control. Chemical Communications, 2001 (19). pp. 1897-1904. ISSN 1359-7345. doi:10.1039/b105185g.

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Through billions of years of evolution nature has created and refined structural proteins for a wide variety of specific purposes. Amino acid sequences and their associated folding patterns combine to create elastic, rigid or tough materials. In many respects, nature’s intricately designed products provide challenging examples for materials scientists, but translation of natural structural concepts into bio-inspired materials requires a level of control of macromolecular architecture far higher than that afforded by conventional polymerization processes. An increasingly important approach to this problem has been to use biological systems for production of materials. Through protein engineering, artificial genes can be developed that encode protein-based materials with desired features. Structural elements found in nature, such as β-sheets and α-helices, can be combined with great flexibility, and can be outfitted with functional elements such as cell binding sites or enzymatic domains. The possibility of incorporating non-natural amino acids increases the versatility of protein engineering still further. It is expected that such methods will have large impact in the field of materials science, and especially in biomedical materials science, in the future.

Item Type:Article
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Tirrell, David A.0000-0003-3175-4596
Additional Information:© 2001 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Received (in Cambridge, UK) 13th June 2001, Accepted 2nd August 2001. First published as an Advance Article on the web 18th September 2001. The authors would like to thank Jurry Hannink for his assistance with the schematic representations and front cover design.
Issue or Number:19
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111104-083950931
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27623
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Nov 2011 16:15
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:50

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