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    Intracellular construction of topology-controlled polypeptide nanostructures with diverse biological functions

    Authors: Li-Li LiSheng-Lin QiaoWei-Jiao LiuYang MaDong WanJie Pan & Hao Wang

    Nature communications 2017, 8 (1), 1276.

    Topological structures of bio-architectonics and bio-interfaces play major roles in maintaining the normal functions of organs, tissues, extracellular matrix, and cells. In-depth understanding of natural self-assembly mechanisms and mimicking functional structures provide us opportunities to artificially control the natural assemblies and their biofunctions. Here, we report an intracellular enzyme-catalyzed polymerization approach for efficient synthesis of polypeptides and in situ construction of topology-controlled nanostructures. We reveal that the phase behavior and topological structure of polypeptides are encoded in monomeric peptide sequences. Next, we elucidate the relationship between polymerization dynamics and their temperature-dependent topological transition in biological conditions. Importantly, the linearly grown elastin-like polypeptides are biocompatible and aggregate into nanoparticles that exhibit significant molecular accumulation and retention effects. However, 3D gel-like structures with thermo-induced multi-directional traction interfere with cellular fates. These findings allow us to exploit new nanomaterials in living subjects for biomedical applications.




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