Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein Fibrils as Alternative Plastics?

29.05.2008
Amyloids are not just pathological agents, they are interesting nanomaterials

Amyloid deposits in tissues and organs are linked to a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type II diabetes, and prion diseases such as BSE. However, amyloids are not just pathological substances; they have potential as a nanomaterials.

“The potential applications of these supramolecular assemblies exceed those of synthetic polymers,” state Ehud Gazit and co-author Izhack Cherny in the journal Angewandte Chemie, “since the building blocks may introduce biological function in addition to mechanical properties.”

Even in nature, amyloids are not merely abnormal, incorrectly folded proteins; they are physiological components of organisms. For example, they are an important protective material in the egg envelopes of insects and fish. They are also involved in the formation of the biofilms of many bacteria, a coating on the surface of the bacterial cells that protects them from antimicrobial substances and facilitates their attachment to surfaces.

... more about:
»Amyloid »Protein »properties

Amyloid fibrils are bundles of highly ordered protein filaments made of ladder-like strands and can be several micrometers long. In cross-section, amyloids appear as hollow cylinders or ribbons. Although amyloid fibrils are proteins, they more closely resemble synthetic polymers (plastics) than the usual globular proteins. Amyloids can display amazing mechanical properties similar to spider silk. Spider silk is, by weight, significantly stronger than steel and can be stretched to many times its original length without tearing— properties that have not been reproducible with synthetic fibers.

“The self-assembly properties of amyloids, together with their observed plasticity, makes them attractive natural building blocks for the design of new nanostructures and nanomaterials,” according to the authors from the University of Tel Aviv (Israel). “These building blocks can be broadly varied by means of simple molecular biological techniques.” Surfaces could be given tailored and biocompatible coatings, for example, in analytical flow devices for medical technology or bioanalysis. Other ideas include amyloid hydrogels for the encapsulation and controlled release of drugs and for scaffolds for three-dimensional cell cultures and tissue engineering. Functional proteins such as enzymes could be bound to amyloid-forming sequences to mimic biological processes.

Amyloid fibrils are also suitable as matrices for nanostructures. For example, it has been possible to produce a conducting nanoscale coaxial cable by filling amyloid nanotubes with sliver and externally coating them with gold.

Author: Ehud Gazit, Tel Aviv University (Israel), http://www.tau.ac.il/lifesci/departments/biotech/members/gazit/gazit.html

Title: Amyloids: Not Only Pathological Agents but Also Ordered Nanomaterials

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2008, 47, No. 22, 4062–4069, doi: 10.1002/anie.200703133

Ehud Gazit | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org
http://www.tau.ac.il/lifesci/departments/biotech/members/gazit/gazit.html

Further reports about: Amyloid Protein properties

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>