Teachers of Tianda “Portrait” of Peptide Biomimetic Materials and Their Applications

As a term that often appears in drugs or beauty products, peptides are not unfamiliar to ordinary people. In recent years, peptide biomimetic materials have also attracted much attention from academia and industry.

Recently, Wang Yuefei, a teacher from the School of Chemical Engineering of Tianjin University, as the corresponding author, published a review paper entitled “Biomimetic Mineralization Based on Self-assembled Peptides” in the Review of the Chemical Society, which systematically introduced and discussed the synthesis mechanism, unique properties and applications of peptide biomimetic mineralized materials, and was invited as the cover paper of the current issue.

Front cover of Chemical Society Review (publication date: March 6, 2023) Photo courtesy of interviewee

According to reports, “peptide” is a polymer formed by amino acids linked by peptide bonds, and is also a basic component of living organisms. Biomimetic mineralization is to simulate the mineralization process of organisms in nature, such as the formation of bones, teeth, shells, etc., and use biomolecules to synthesize inorganic minerals under mild conditions.

Peptides have the advantages of good biocompatibility, diverse structure, and rich active groups on the surface, so they can regulate the formation process of inorganic materials through biomimetic mineralization, realize accurate control of the morphology, size and composition of related composite materials, and give them catalytic selectivity, binding targeting and stimulation responsiveness.

In recent years, by combining with artificial intelligence, researchers can also use computers to rationally design the amino acid sequences that make up peptides, precisely control the interaction between peptides and inorganic substances, and obtain multi-level fine structures that cannot be obtained in nature.

Due to their unique optical, catalytic and biological activities, peptide biomimetic mineralized materials are widely used in sensing detection, biological imaging, anti-tumor, drug delivery, tooth and bone restoration and other fields.

Wang Yuefei said that the representative application of peptides mainly has the following three aspects.

First, applied to sensing detection, the polypeptide-metal colloidal particles formed have unique optical activity, stimulus response characteristics and a variety of specific recognition capabilities, and can detect their changes through the naked eye or spectrometer to achieve qualitative and quantitative detection of a variety of active substances, including tumor markers, metal ions, antigens, etc.

The second is the application in the field of biomedicine, in addition to being widely used in biological imaging, it is also expected to be used in drug delivery and cancer treatment. In addition, peptides and the three-dimensional gel skeleton structure they form can be used for damaged tooth restoration and bone regeneration.

The third is the application in the field of enzyme-like catalysis, such as the team of Tianjin University has successfully created a series of artificial metal enzymes with excellent performance, which have higher catalytic activity and stability than natural enzymes, and are low cost and high selectivity, which is expected to replace natural enzymes for drug synthesis, energy catalysis and other green chemical and chemical fields. (Source: China Science News, Liu Xiaoyan, Chen Bin)

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