Protein-Engineered Fibers For Drug Encapsulation Traceable via 19F Magnetic Resonance

Dustin Britton, Jakub Legocki, Orlando Aristizabal, Orin Mishkit, Chengliang Liu, Sihan Jia, Paul Douglas Renfrew, Richard Bonneau, Youssef Z. Wadghiri, Jin Kim Montclare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theranostic materials research is experiencing rapid growth driven by the interest in integrating both therapeutic and diagnostic modalities. These materials offer the unique capability to not only provide treatment but also track the progression of a disease. However, to create an ideal theranostic biomaterial without compromising drug encapsulation, diagnostic imaging must be optimized for improved sensitivity and spatial localization. Herein, we create a protein-engineered fluorinated coiled-coil fiber, Q2TFL, capable of improved sensitivity to 19F magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) detection. Leveraging residue-specific noncanonical amino acid incorporation of trifluoroleucine (TFL) into the coiled-coil, Q2, which self-assembles into nanofibers, we generate Q2TFL. We demonstrate that fluorination results in a greater increase in thermostability and 19F magnetic resonance detection compared to the nonfluorinated parent, Q2. Q2TFL also exhibits linear ratiometric 19F MRS thermoresponsiveness, allowing it to act as a temperature probe. Furthermore, we explore the ability of Q2TFL to encapsulate the anti-inflammatory small molecule, curcumin (CCM), and its impact on the coiled-coil structure. Q2TFL also provides hyposignal contrast in 1H MRI, echogenic signal with high-frequency ultrasound and sensitive detection by 19F MRS in vivo illustrating fluorination of coiled-coils for supramolecular assembly and their use with 1H MRI, 19F MRS and high frequency ultrasound as multimodal theranostic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21245-21257
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 24 2023


  • F MRS
  • biomaterial
  • drug encapsulation
  • imaging
  • protein fibers
  • theranostic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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