Disordered protein-graphene oxide co-assembly and supramolecular biofabrication of functional fluidic devices

Yuanhao Wu, Babatunde O Okesola, Jing Xu, Ivan Korotkin, Alice Berardo, Ilaria Corridori, Francesco Luigi Pellerej di Brocchetti, Janos Kanczler, Jingyu Feng, Weiqi Li, Yejiao Shi, Vladimir Farafonov, Yiqiang Wang, Rebecca F Thompson, Maria-Magdalena Titirici, Dmitry Nerukh, Sergey Karabasov, Richard O C Oreffo, Jose Carlos Rodriguez-Cabello, Giovanni VozziHelena S Azevedo, Nicola M Pugno, Wen Wang, Alvaro Mata

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Supramolecular chemistry offers an exciting opportunity to assemble materials with molecular precision. However, there remains an unmet need to turn molecular self-assembly into functional materials and devices. Harnessing the inherent properties of both disordered proteins and graphene oxide (GO), we report a disordered protein-GO co-assembling system that through a diffusion-reaction process and disorder-to-order transitions generates hierarchically organized materials that exhibit high stability and access to non-equilibrium on demand. We use experimental approaches and molecular dynamics simulations to describe the underlying molecular mechanism of formation and establish key rules for its design and regulation. Through rapid prototyping techniques, we demonstrate the system's capacity to be controlled with spatio-temporal precision into well-defined capillary-like fluidic microstructures with a high level of biocompatibility and, importantly, the capacity to withstand flow. Our study presents an innovative approach to transform rational supramolecular design into functional engineering with potential widespread use in microfluidic systems and organ-on-a-chip platforms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1182
    JournalNature Communications
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020

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