Crafting Artificial Arteries

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

Researchers at 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 on Monday 28 September 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.

Illustration of the artificial artery.
The technique could also contribute to the creation of better implants, complex tissues, or more effective drug screening methods. Image is adapted from the Queen Mary University of London press release.

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.


Demonstrating a dynamic self-assembling protein-peptide membrane

Karla Inostroza-Brito, PhD student and first author of the paper said: “The system is dynamic so it can be triggered on demand to enable self-assembly with a high degree of control, which allows the creation of complex shapes with a structure that resembles elements of native tissue.“

[divider]About this neuroscience and bioengineering research[/divider]

Funding: The study has been partly funded by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant STROFUNSCAFF).

Source: Queen Mary University of London
Image Credit: The image is adapted from the Queen Mary University of London press release
Video Source: The video is available at the QMULOfficial YouTube page
Original Research: Abstract for “Co-assembly, spatiotemporal control and morphogenesis of a hybrid protein–peptide system” by 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 and Alvaro Mata in Nature Chemistry. Published online September 28 2015 doi:10.1038/nchem.2349


Abstract

Co-assembly, spatiotemporal control and morphogenesis of a hybrid protein–peptide system

Controlling molecular interactions between bioinspired molecules can enable the development of new materials with higher complexity and innovative properties. Here we report on a dynamic system that emerges from the conformational modification of an elastin-like protein by peptide amphiphiles and with the capacity to access, and be maintained in, non-equilibrium for substantial periods of time. The system enables the formation of a robust membrane that displays controlled assembly and disassembly capabilities, adhesion and sealing to surfaces, self-healing and the capability to undergo morphogenesis into tubular structures with high spatiotemporal control. We use advanced microscopy along with turbidity and spectroscopic measurements to investigate the mechanism of assembly and its relation to the distinctive membrane architecture and the resulting dynamic properties. Using cell-culture experiments with endothelial and adipose-derived stem cells, we demonstrate the potential of this system to generate complex bioactive scaffolds for applications such as tissue engineering.

“Co-assembly, spatiotemporal control and morphogenesis of a hybrid protein–peptide system” by 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 and Alvaro Mata in Nature Chemistry. Published online September 28 2015 doi:10.1038/nchem.2349

[divider]Feel free to share this neuroscience news.[/divider]

Join our Newsletter
I agree to have my personal information transferred to AWeber for Neuroscience Newsletter ( more information )
Sign up to receive the latest neuroscience headlines and summaries sent to your email daily from NeuroscienceNews.com
We hate spam and only use your email to contact you about newsletters. We do not sell email addresses. You can cancel your subscription any time.