A team of researchers from the University of Leeds designed a method that can aid in the development of synthetic biomaterials.
The researchers at the University of Leeds are observing small changes in the composition of each protein blocks. They are investigating how slight difference at the micro level can change the composition and mechanisms of the biomaterial at a macro level while ensuring that the biological functionality of the protein network remain intact. They are continuously studying the changes as biomaterials could eventually find applications in various fields of healthcare such as joint repair, wound healing, and others.
In this context, it is important to mention that the researchers are facing difficulty in controlling and assembling protein building blocks into complex protein networks. However, they were successful in altering the composition of a protein network by detaching a distinct chemical bond, which they named as protein staples, in the protein building blocks. The researchers explained that after detaching the chemical bond, each protein molecules unfolded easily after these molecules are joined together and assembled into a network. This led to the formation of a network with regions of folded protein, which are linked by regions with unfolded protein. Thus, this resulted into a completely new unique features for the biomaterial.
This study shed light on the extraordinary functional properties of proteins. The researchers are trying to devise different approaches to exploit this amazing functional properties of protein in various materials that use proteins as building blocks. They concluded that the capacity to alter the nanoscale properties of protein building blocks from a rigid and folded state to a flexible and unfolded state would provide a strong route to create biomaterials.