Table of Contents
Journal of Soft Matter
Volume 2013, Article ID 732157, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/732157
Research Article

An Elastin-Derived Self-Assembling Polypeptide

Department of Science, University of Basilicata, Via Ateneo Lucano, 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy

Received 26 April 2013; Accepted 27 May 2013

Academic Editor: Eri Yoshida

Copyright © 2013 Antonietta Pepe and Brigida Bochicchio. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Elastin is an extracellular matrix protein responsible for the elastic properties of organs and tissues, the elastic properties being conferred to the protein by the presence of elastic fibers. In the perspective of producing tailor-made biomaterials of potential interest in nanotechnology and biotechnology fields, we report a study on an elastin-derived polypeptide. The choice of the polypeptide sequence encoded by exon 6 of Human Tropoelastin Gene is dictated by the peculiar sequence of the polypeptide. As a matter of fact, analogously to elastin, it is constituted of a hydrophobic region (GLGAFPAVTFPGALVPGG) and of a more hydrophilic region rich of lysine and alanine residues (VADAAAAYKAAKA). The role played by the two different regions in triggering the adoption of beta-turn and beta-sheet conformations is herein discussed and demonstrated to be crucial for the self-aggregation properties of the polypeptide.