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Two-Step Protein Self-Assembly in the Extracellular Matrix


  • This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (1032413) and GT Emory Center for Regenerative Engineering & Medicine. We acknowledge J. Park, Prof. A. Bommarius, Dr. I. Mamajanov, and Prof. N. Hud for technical assistance and Profs. K. Zhang and D. Tirrell for plasmid DNA. This work was performed in part at the GT Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, which is supported by the NSF.


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Carrier-free protein delivery: Protein self-assembly can be conducted in the extracellular matrix (ECM) where engineered protein components (ZR-ELP) form particles that become entrapped, bind a model protein (mCherry-ZE), and dissociate. Spontaneous diffusion–coacervation and high-affinity binding of proteins mediate in situ formation of the self-assembled particles that shrink and release the model protein in the ECM (see scheme).

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