Biomedical Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
type [113]. We expect that out of this emerging field, self-assembling peptide
systems will play an increasing role in targeted molecular therapeutics and
gene therapy.
Other Applications
Since peptides that can specifically bind to inorganic surfaces for particular
applications that have no known analog in biology, molecular design may not
be an efficient route to pursue. Even though one can potentially test many
different biomolecular species to perform a particular function, the sheer
number of samples that must be screened makes such an endeavor prohibitive
in cost. For binding to GaAs (100), peptides with a higher number of un-
charged polar and Lewis base side-chains became more predominant with
successive rounds of selection. This could be attributed to the interaction of
these functional groups with the Lewis acid sites of the GaAs surface.
Using a similar selection strategy, Lee et al. identified a bacteriophage that
had the propensity to bind to ZnS crystal surfaces [116]. These phages were
then mixed with ZnS quantum dots, forming a liquid crystalline suspension
of the complex. This will push forward the areas of nano-electronic, optical
and magnetic sciences and engineering.
Artificial peptide and protein libraries have been constructed for selec-
tion of novel proteins and peptide motifs that Nature never made [117-119].
Many investigators completely designed the peptide and protein libraries de
novo, without a pre-existing protein basis. Although Nature has selected and
evolved many diverse proteins for all sorts of functions that support life, it
has not ventured into the functions outside of life. The protein universe is
enormous, in comparison with what we know today. There are, undoubt-
edly, a great number of proteins that can exist beyond what has been founded
in living systems. Numerous new proteins and peptides with desired and
novel properties have been selected for a particular application. This strat-
egy permits us to purposely select and rapidly evolve non-natural materials,
nano-scaffolds and nano-construction motifs for a growing demand in nano-
technology. The numbers of these biologically based scaffolds are limitless
and they will likely play an increasingly important role for the design of mo-
lecular machines, nanodevices and countless other novel, unanticipated new
tools and applications.
Conclusions and Perspectives
From physics and engineering to biology, molecular design of self-assembling
peptides is an enabling technology that will likely play an increasingly im-
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