Molecular Biomimetics: Nanotechnology And Bionanotechnology . Utilizing Genetically Engineered Peptides

Medical News Today

Nature provides inspiration for designing materials and systems which derive their functions from highly organized structures. Biological hard tissues are hybrid materials having both inorganics within a complex organic matrix, the molecular scaffold controlling inorganic structures. Biocomposites incorporate both biomacromolecules such as proteins, lipids and polysaccharides, and inorganic materials, such as hydroxyapatite, silica, magnetite, and calcite.

The ordered organization of hierarchical structures in organisms begins via the molecular recognition of inorganics by proteins which control interactions and followed by the highly efficient self assembly across scales. Following the molecular biological principle, proteins could also be utilized in controlling materials formation in practical engineering via self-assembled, hybrid, functional materials structures. In molecular biomimetics, material-specific peptides could be the key in the molecular engineering of biology-inspired materials.

With the recent developments of nanoscale engineering in physical sciences and the advances in molecular biology, we now combine genetic tools with synthetic nanoscale constructs to create a novel methodology. We first genetically select and/or design peptides with specific binding to functional solids, tailor their binding and assembly characteristics, develop bifunctional peptide/protein genetic constructs with both material binding and biological activity, and utilize these as molecular-synthesizers, erectors, and assemblers. Here, we give an overview of solid-binding peptides as novel molecular agents coupling bio- and nanotechnology.


Catherine de Lange
Assistant Press Officer
The Royal Society
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