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Self-assembling material that grows, changes shape could lead to artificial arteries

Date:
September 28, 2015
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Researchers have developed a way of assembling organic molecules into complex tubular tissue-like structures without the use of moulds or techniques like 3-D printing.
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The protein/peptide system can grow on demand by simply displacing the interface.
Credit: QMUL

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have developed a way of assembling organic molecules into complex tubular tissue-like structures without the use of moulds or techniques like 3D printing.

The study, which will appear in the journal Nature Chemistry, describes how peptides and proteins can be used to create materials that exhibit dynamic behaviors found in biological tissues like growth, morphogenesis, and healing.

The method uses solutions of peptide and protein molecules that, upon touching each other, self-assemble to form a dynamic tissue at the point at which they meet. As the material assembles itself it can be easily guided to grow into complex shapes.

This discovery could lead to the engineering of tissues like veins, arteries, or even the blood-brain barrier, which would allow scientists to study diseases such as Alzheimer's with a high level of similarity to the real tissue, which is currently impossible. The technique could also contribute to the creation of better implants, complex tissues, or more effective drug screening methods.

Alvaro Mata, Director of the Institute of Bioengineering at QMUL and lead author of the paper, said: "What is most exciting about this discovery is the possibility for us to use peptides and proteins as building-blocks of materials with the capacity to controllably grow or change shape, solely by self-assembly.


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Materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karla E. Inostroza-Brito, Estelle Collin, Orit Siton-Mendelson, Katherine H. Smith, Amàlia Monge-Marcet, Daniela S. Ferreira, Raúl Pérez Rodríguez, Matilde Alonso, José Carlos Rodríguez-Cabello, Rui L. Reis, Francesc Sagués, Lorenzo Botto, Ronit Bitton, Helena S. Azevedo, Alvaro Mata. Co-assembly, spatiotemporal control and morphogenesis of a hybrid protein–peptide system. Nature Chemistry, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2349

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Queen Mary, University of London. "Self-assembling material that grows, changes shape could lead to artificial arteries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150928122552.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2015, September 28). Self-assembling material that grows, changes shape could lead to artificial arteries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150928122552.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Self-assembling material that grows, changes shape could lead to artificial arteries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150928122552.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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