Supramolecular Click Product Interactions Induce Dynamic Stiffening of Extracellular Matrix-Mimetic Hydrogels. Academic Article uri icon


  • Progressive stiffening of the extracellular matrix (ECM) is observed in tissue development as well as in pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and fibrotic disease. However, methods to recapitulate this phenomenon in vitro face critical limitations. Here, we present a poly(ethylene glycol)-based peptide-functionalized ECM-mimetic hydrogel platform capable of facile, user-controlled dynamic stiffening. This platform leverages supramolecular interactions between inverse-electron demand Diels-Alder tetrazine-norbornene click products (TNCP) to create pendant moieties that undergo non-covalent crosslinking, stiffening a pre-existing network formed via thiol-ene click chemistry over the course of 6 h. Pendant TNCP moieties have a concentration-dependent effect on gel stiffness while still being cytocompatible and permissive of cell-mediated gel degradation. The robustness of this approach as well as its simplicity and ease of translation give it broad potential utility.

published proceedings

  • Biomacromolecules

altmetric score

  • 2.95

author list (cited authors)

  • Holt, S. E., Arroyo, J., Poux, E., Fricks, A., Agurcia, I., Heintschel, M., Rakoski, A., & Alge, D. L.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Holt, Samantha E||Arroyo, Julio||Poux, Emily||Fricks, Austen||Agurcia, Isabelle||Heintschel, Marissa||Rakoski, Amanda||Alge, Daniel L

publication date

  • July 2021