Dynamically tunable light responsive silk-elastin-like proteins.
Abstract: Dynamically tunable biomaterials are of particular interest in the field of biomedical engineering because of the potential utility for shape-change materials, drug and cell delivery and tissue regeneration. Stimuli-responsive proteins formed into hydrogels are potential candidates for such systems, due to the genetic tailorability and control over structure-function relationships. Here we report the synthesis of genetically engineered Silk-Elastin-Like Protein (SELP) photoresponsive hydrogels. Polymerization of the SELPs and monomeric adenosylcobalamin (AdoB12)-dependent photoreceptor C-terminal adenosylcobalamin binding domain (CarHC) was achieved using genetically encoded SpyTag-SpyCatcher peptide-protein pairs under mild physiological conditions. The hydrogels exhibited a partial collapse of the crosslinked molecular network with both decreased loss and storage moduli upon exposure to visible light. The materials were also evaluated for cytotoxicity and the encapsulation and release of L929 murine fibroblasts from 3D cultures. The design of these photo-responsible proteins provides new stimuli-responsive SELP-CarHC hydrogels for dynamically tunable protein-based materials.