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Keywords:

  • biomaterial;
  • DNA–protein interaction;
  • gout;
  • repressor protein;
  • stimuli-sensitive polymers

Abstract

Metabolite-responsive hydrogels that detect pathological metabolite concentrations and react by releasing a therapeutic stimulus hold high promises in treating metabolic diseases. In this study, a hydrogel is described that discriminates between physiological and pathological concentrations of urate, the causative agent of gouty arthritis. The hydrogel is synthesized by coupling a dimeric variant of the Deinococcus radiodurans-derived urate repressor HucR to linear polyacrylamide. The protein-grafted polymer is crosslinked to form a hydrogel by a multimeric hucO DNA sequence [hucO]n specifically binding HucR. At elevated urate concentrations, HucR dissociates from [hucO]n thereby weakening the hydrogel structure and resulting in its dissolution.