Intein-triggered artificial protein hydrogels that support the immobilization of bioactive proteins. Academic Article uri icon


  • Protein hydrogels have important applications in tissue engineering, drug delivery, and biofabrication. We present the development of a novel self-assembling protein hydrogel triggered by mixing two soluble protein block copolymers, each containing one half of a split intein. Mixing these building blocks initiates an intein trans-splicing reaction that yields a hydrogel that is highly stable over a wide range of pH (6-10) and temperature (4-50 C), instantaneously recovers its mechanical properties after shear-induced breakdown, and is compatible with both aqueous and organic solvents. Incorporating a "docking station" peptide into the hydrogel building blocks enables simple and stable immobilization of docking protein-fused bioactive proteins in the hydrogel. This intein-triggered protein hydrogel technology opens new avenues for both in vitro metabolic pathway construction and functional/biocompatible tissue engineering scaffolds and provides a convenient platform for immobilizing enzymes in industrial biocatalysis.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

author list (cited authors)

  • Ramirez, M., Guan, D., Ugaz, V., & Chen, Z.

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Ramirez, Miguel||Guan, Dongli||Ugaz, Victor||Chen, Zhilei

publication date

  • April 2013