Tunable mechanical stability and deformation response of a resilin-based elastomer.

Academic Article


  • Resilin, the highly elastomeric protein found in specialized compartments of most arthropods, possesses superior resilience and excellent high-frequency responsiveness. Enabled by biosynthetic strategies, we have designed and produced a modular, recombinant resilin-like polypeptide bearing both mechanically active and biologically active domains to create novel biomaterial microenvironments for engineering mechanically active tissues such as blood vessels, cardiovascular tissues, and vocal folds. Preliminary studies revealed that these recombinant materials exhibit promising mechanical properties and support the adhesion of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. In this Article, we detail the characterization of the dynamic mechanical properties of these materials, as assessed via dynamic oscillatory shear rheology at various protein concentrations and cross-linking ratios. Simply by varying the polypeptide concentration and cross-linker ratios, the storage modulus G' can be easily tuned within the range of 500 Pa to 10 kPa. Strain-stress cycles and resilience measurements were probed via standard tensile testing methods and indicated the excellent resilience (>90%) of these materials, even when the mechanically active domains are intercepted by nonmechanically active biological cassettes. Further evaluation, at high frequencies, of the mechanical properties of these materials were assessed by a custom-designed torsional wave apparatus (TWA) at frequencies close to human phonation, indicating elastic modulus values from 200 to 2500 Pa, which is within the range of experimental data collected on excised porcine and human vocal fold tissues. The results validate the outstanding mechanical properties of the engineered materials, which are highly comparable to the mechanical properties of targeted vocal fold tissues. The ease of production of these biologically active materials, coupled to their outstanding mechanical properties over a range of compositions, suggests their potential in tissue regeneration applications.
  • Authors

  • Li, Linqing
  • Teller, Sean
  • Clifton, Rodney J
  • Jia, Xinqiao
  • Kiick, Kristi L
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • June 13, 2011
  • Published In

  • Biomacromolecules  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Elastomers
  • Escherichia coli
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels
  • Insect Proteins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phonation
  • Plasmids
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Rheology
  • Swine
  • Tensile Strength
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Transfection
  • Viscosity
  • Vocal Cords
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 2302
  • End Page

  • 2310
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 6