Tuning a coiled-coil hydrogel via computational design of supramolecular fiber assembly

Dustin Britton, Michael Meleties, Chengliang Liu, Sihan Jia, Farbod Mahmoudinobar, P. Douglas Renfrew, Richard Bonneau, Jin Kim Montclare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The previously reported Q is a thermoresponsive coiled-coil protein capable of higher-order supramolecular assembly into fibers and hydrogels with upper critical solution temperature (UCST) behavior. Here, we introduce a new coiled-coil protein that is redesigned to disfavor lateral growth of its fibers and thus achieve a higher crosslinking density within the formed hydrogel. We also introduce a favorable hydrophobic mutation to the pore of the coiled-coil domain for increased thermostability of the protein. We note that an increase in storage modulus of the hydrogel and crosslinking density is coupled with a decrease in fiber diameter. We further fully characterize our α-helical coiled-coil (Q2) hydrogel for its structure, nano-assembly, and rheology relative to our previous single domain protein, Q, over the time of its gelation demonstrating the nature of our hydrogel self-assembly system. In this vein, we also characterize the ability of Q2 to encapsulate the small hydrophobic small molecule, curcumin, and its impact on the mechanical properties of Q2. The design parameters here not only show the importance of electrostatic potential in self-assembly but also provide a step towards predictable design of electrostatic protein interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular Systems Design and Engineering
StatePublished - Oct 26 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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