Authors: V.K. Yadavalli, R.M. Pidaparti
Affilation: Virginia Commonwealth University, United States
Pages: 266 - 269
Keywords: collagen, dna, complex, self-assembly, AFM
Collagen is a fibrous protein that undergoes a complex self-organizing process at the nano-, micro-, and macro-scales to form hierarchical fibers. Fiber nano/microstructures are extremely sensitive to biophysical/biochemical environments. Their mechanical properties and anisotropy (macroscale) are affected by the orientation and compositions of fibers. At micro- and nano-scales the organization of collagen is greatly affected by cell morphology, migration, proliferation, and gene expression. Collagen is a variably charged molecule, while DNA is a negatively charged molecule and is known for its repairing capability with enzymes in response to damages. They form an aggregate through electrostatic interactions in the presence and absence of uncharged synthetic polymers. Controlling collagen/DNA to assemble hierarchical organization ex vivo remains a significant challenge and may lead to development of superior fibers for multiple applications. Collagen-DNA complexes may have a big role on the development of new bio-nano technologies and new carrier biomaterials for applications in drug and gene delivery systems. The objective of this study is to systematically conduct experiments to investigate first the self-assembly of collagen with varying conditions of pH and ion concentration to observe the self-assembly of collagen fibers. Secondly, combine the collagen with DNA to see what structures are formed and characterize them using AFM and nanoindentation techniques.