Research Highlights

Development of Nanofibers from Mussel Adhesive Protein and Silk from Sea Anemone (2011.11.8)

2012-06-20 619

POSTECH researchers have found a way to tightly fix bio materials by using mussel adhesive proteins (MAPS).

Professor HyungJoon Cha of the Department of Chemical Engineering had developed sticky nanofibrous scaffold based on MAPS, which can be functionalized with diverse types of biomolecules. The paper supported by “Marine Bioengineering Technology Project” under the Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs appeared in the Angewandte Chemie International Edition published online on Oct. 19.

Nanofibers are a promising tool for tissue engineering applications, and various studies have been conducted towards that goal. However, researchers have faced barriers because previously nanofibers required a pre-treatment process of modifying its surface to fixing bio materials. In general, the process of modifying the surface state of nanofibers using synthetic polymers requires a complex process such as a plasma processing followed by specific chemical synthesizing reactions particular to the biomaterials.

In comparison, the nanofibers developed by Prof. Cha’s team boasts its simple process that the adhesive and chemical properties of MAPS are conductive to functionalization without surface modification.

Also, the newly developed nanofibers show a physical strength four times as high as that of previous nanofibers using only the existing synthetic polymers. Because MAPS can be easily mixed with a wide array of polymers, it presents a high potential to be applied to other various fields in the future.

Moreover, Prof. Cha’s research team also succeeded to produce silk from sea anemone. The research team found the fact that Starlet Sea Anemone, NematostellaVectensis can expand and contract when small stimulation is given, and it can be stretched five to ten times of its original length.

Since the silk protein is flexible and shows high strength, it is expected to be widely applied to other fields such as medical material like suture thread, medicine transfer material, cosmetics, and bulletproof materials.

* The Postech Times : Reporter Lee Suh-young