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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Construction of protein-based hydrogels via protein fragment reconstitution of GB1 Lin, Haoquan


Tremendous progress has been made in the development of biomaterials as biomimetic extracellular matrices. Protein-based hydrogels are appealing candidates as artificial extracellular matrices due to their high absorption of water, reactive side chains, and tunable physical/chemical properties. Herein, we develop three proteins (GC-FN3-GN, GC-GB1-FN3-GN, and GC-I27F-FN3-GN) containing FN3 that is critical for cell adhesion. These proteins can self-assemble into protein polymers with high molecular weight via protein fragment reconstitution of a small protein GB1 which can be spontaneously reassembled from its two split fragments GN and GC. The resultant polymerized GC-FN3-GN and GC-GB1-FN3-GN have been successfully used to construct hydrogels through a well-developed photochemical crosslinking approach. The GC-GB1-FN3-GN polyprotein hydrogels can be used as extracellular matrices for the cell culture of human lung fibroblasts. These hydrogels exhibit thermo- and redox-responsive features and support cell adhesion with high cell viability in 2D cell culture, which hence demonstrate excellent potential for cell culture. Moreover, the use of protein fragment reconstitution of GB1 allows the rational design of functional biomaterials.

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