Biomedical Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
4.3
GeneandDrugDelivery ............................
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4.4
OtherApplications ...............................
166
5
Conclusions and Perspectives
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References
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Abstract Combining physics, engineering, chemistry and biology, we can now design, syn-
thesize and fabricate biological nano-materials at the molecular scale using self-assembling
peptide systems. These peptides have been used for fabrication of nanomaterials including
nanofibers, nanotubes and vesicles, nanometer-thick surface coating and nanowires. Some
of these peptides are used for stabilizing membrane proteins, and others provide a more
permissive environment for cell growth, repair of tissues in regenerative medicine, and de-
livering genes and drugs. Self-assembling peptides are also useful for fabricating a wide
spectrum of exquisitely fine architectures, new materials and nanodevices for nanobiotech-
nology and a variety of engineering. These systems lie at the interface between molecular
biology, chemistry, materials science and engineering. Molecular self-assembly will har-
ness nature's enormous power to benefit other disciplines and society.
Keywords Regenerative medicine
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Polymers
Nanobiotechnology
Self-assembly peptide · Designer nanomaterials
1
Introduction
1.1
The Nature's Building Blocks at the Molecular Scale and Design,
Synthesis and Fabrication
Nature is the grandmaster when it comes to building extraordinary materials
and molecular machines—from the bottom up, one atom and one molecule
at a time. Multifunctional macromolecular assemblies in living organisms,
including hemoglobin, polymerases, ATP synthase, membrane channels, the
spliceosome, the proteosome, ribosomes, and photosystems are all essentially
exquisitely designed molecular machines acquired through billions of years
of prebiotic molecular selection and evolution. Nature has produced a ba-
sic set of molecules that includes 20 amino acids, a few nucleotides, a dozen
or so lipid molecules and few dozens of sugars as well as naturally modi-
fied building blocks or metabolic intermediates. With these seemingly simple
molecules, natural processes are capable of fashioning an enormously di-
verse range of fabrication units, which can further self-organize into refined
structures, materials and molecular machines that not only have high preci-
sion, flexibility and error correction, but also are self-sustaining and evolving.
Indeed, nature favors bottom-up design, building up from molecular assem-
blies, bit by bit, more or less simultaneously in a well-defined manner.
 
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