Protein disorder-order interplay to guide the growth of hierarchical mineralized structures.
Elsharkawy S., Al-Jawad M., Pantano MF., Tejeda-Montes E., Mehta K., Jamal H., Agarwal S., Shuturminska K., Rice A., Tarakina NV., Wilson RM., Bushby AJ., Alonso M., Rodriguez-Cabello JC., Barbieri E., Del Río Hernández A., Stevens MM., Pugno NM., Anderson P., Mata A.
A major goal in materials science is to develop bioinspired functional materials based on the precise control of molecular building blocks across length scales. Here we report a protein-mediated mineralization process that takes advantage of disorder-order interplay using elastin-like recombinamers to program organic-inorganic interactions into hierarchically ordered mineralized structures. The materials comprise elongated apatite nanocrystals that are aligned and organized into microscopic prisms, which grow together into spherulite-like structures hundreds of micrometers in diameter that come together to fill macroscopic areas. The structures can be grown over large uneven surfaces and native tissues as acid-resistant membranes or coatings with tuneable hierarchy, stiffness, and hardness. Our study represents a potential strategy for complex materials design that may open opportunities for hard tissue repair and provide insights into the role of molecular disorder in human physiology and pathology.