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Physical Characterization of Fibres Produced from Recombinant Vimentin

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Title: Physical Characterization of Fibres Produced from Recombinant Vimentin
Author: Pinto, Nicole
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Fudge, DouglasGillis, Todd
Abstract: Recent attention has focused on the use of renewable resources as an alternative to petroleum-based polymers. Fudge et al. (2010) demonstrated that hagfish slime threads, which are composed of “keratin-like” intermediate filament (IF) proteins undergo an α→β transition when strained and when exposed to glutaraldehyde, mechanical properties further improved. Negishi et al. (2012) showed that fibres produced from solubilized hagfish slime threads did not possess comparable mechanical characteristics to native slime threads and were unable to assemble into 10 nm filaments. In this study, fibres were produced from solubilized recombinant vimentin protein and assembled vimentin filaments. Solubilized protein fibres did not display mechanical properties as impressive as fibres made from filaments assembled in the presence magnesium and glutaraldehyde. Additionally, X-ray diffraction analysis of fibres cross-linked with magnesium showed an α→β transition when draw-processed. These data show that fibres produced using IFs can potentially be used for production of sustainable protein polymers.
Date: 2012-12
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