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Self-assembling systems comprising intrinsically disordered protein polymers like elastin-like recombinamers
Journal of Peptide Science  (IF1.905),  Pub Date : 2021-09-20, DOI: 10.1002/psc.3362
Diana Juanes-Gusano, Mercedes Santos, Virginia Reboto, Matilde Alonso, José Carlos Rodríguez-Cabello

Despite lacking cooperatively folded structures under native conditions, numerous intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) nevertheless have great functional importance. These IDPs are hybrids containing both ordered and intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs), the structure of which is highly flexible in this unfolded state. The conformational flexibility of these disordered systems favors transitions between disordered and ordered states triggered by intrinsic and extrinsic factors, folding into different dynamic molecular assemblies to enable proper protein functions. Indeed, prokaryotic enzymes present less disorder than eukaryotic enzymes, thus showing that this disorder is related to functional and structural complexity. Protein-based polymers that mimic these IDPs include the so-called elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs), which are inspired by the composition of natural elastin. Elastin-like recombinamers (ELRs) are ELPs produced using recombinant techniques and which can therefore be tailored for a specific application. One of the most widely used and studied characteristic structures in this field is the pentapeptide (VPGXG)n. The structural disorder in ELRs probably arises due to the high content of proline and glycine in the ELR backbone, because both these amino acids help to keep the polypeptide structure of elastomers disordered and hydrated. Moreover, the recombinant nature of these systems means that different sequences can be designed, including bioactive domains, to obtain specific structures for each application. Some of these structures, along with their applications as IDPs that self-assemble into functional vesicles or micelles from diblock copolymer ELRs, will be studied in the following sections. The incorporation of additional order- and disorder-promoting peptide/protein domains, such as α-helical coils or β-strands, in the ELR sequence, and their influence on self-assembly, will also be reviewed. In addition, chemically cross-linked systems with controllable order–disorder balance, and their role in biomineralization, will be discussed. Finally, we will review different multivalent IDPs-based coatings and films for different biomedical applications, such as spatially controlled cell adhesion, osseointegration, or biomaterial-associated infection (BAI).