Genetically engineered protein block polymers are an important class of biomaterials that have gained significant attention in recent years due to their potential applications in biotechnology, electronics and medicine. The majority of the protein materials have been composed of at least a single self-assembling domain (SAD), enabling the formation of supramolecular structures. Recently, we developed block polymers consisting of two distinct SADs derived from an elastin-mimetic polypeptide (E) and the alpha-helical COMPcc (C). These protein polymers, synthesized as the block sequences - EC, CE, and ECE - were assessed for overall conformation and macroscopic thermoresponsive behavior. Here, we investigate the supramolecular assembly as well as the small molecule binding and release profile of these block polymers. Our results demonstrate that the protein polymers assemble into particles as well as fully or partially networked structures in a concentration dependent manner that is distinct from the individual E and C homopolymers and the E+C non-covalent mixture. In contrast to synthetic block polymers, the structured assembly, binding and release abilities are highly dependent on the composition and orientation of the blocks. These results reveal the promise for these block polymers for therapeutic delivery and biomedical scaffolds.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology