Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Green Gel: New Hybrid Materials Made From Synthetic Polymers And Proteins

Date:
April 20, 2008
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new strategy for the formation of hybrid materials from synthetic polymers and proteins. They can fuse the specific biological functions of proteins with the advantageous bulk and processing properties of plastics. They have successfully synthesized a green-fluorescing biodegradable gel that responds to changes in pH value and temperature.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) have now developed a new strategy for the formation of hybrid materials from synthetic polymers and proteins. They have thus been able to fuse the specific biological functions of proteins with the advantageous bulk and processing properties of plastics.

Polymer-protein hybrid materials may be of use in the manufacture of sensors, nanomachine parts, or drug-delivery systems. As Aaron P. Esser-Kahn and Matthew B. Francis report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they have successfully synthesized a green-fluorescing biodegradable gel that responds to changes in pH value and temperature.

Previous processes for the production of hybrid materials depended on very specific coupling techniques that could not be used for some protein side-chains. In contrast, the new method developed by the Berkeley researchers is broadly applicable because in principle it is suitable for any protein. The coupling occurs at both ends of the protein chain—and these are the same for all proteins: one amino acid group and one carboxylic acid group.

Initially, two parallel but mutually independent (orthogonal) reactions are used to activate the two ends of the chain. These are then attached to special chemical “anchor points” on the polymer. The proteins thus cross-link the individual polymer chains into a three-dimensional network, forming what is known as a hydrogel. A hydrogel is a solid, gelatinous mass consisting of water incorporated in a polymer network. A well-known example of a hydrogel is the soft contact lens.

Francis and Esser-Kahn chose to use a protein that fluoresces green to cross-link their polymer chains. Because the protein maintains its normal folding pattern even after attachment to the polymer, the fluorescence is also maintained: The entire gel fluoresces green.

This hybrid material has a special trait: the cross-linking of the polymer chains is achieved exclusively by means of the proteins. Because proteins can be attacked by proteases, enzymes that disintegrate proteins, these gels are biodegradable. The green fluorescence of the protein is pH-dependent. The gel correspondingly also reacts to changes in pH. It only fluoresces in the basic range; in a lightly acidic medium, the gel no longer fluoresces. Raising the temperature also elicits a response from the gel. The protein denatures at about 70 C, which quenches the fluorescence and causes the gel to shrink.

Journal reference: Protein-Cross-Linked Polymeric Materials through Site-Selective Bioconjugation. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2008, 47, 3751–3754. doi: 10.1002/anie.200705564


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Green Gel: New Hybrid Materials Made From Synthetic Polymers And Proteins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080418105534.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2008, April 20). Green Gel: New Hybrid Materials Made From Synthetic Polymers And Proteins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080418105534.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Green Gel: New Hybrid Materials Made From Synthetic Polymers And Proteins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080418105534.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins