Journal of Structural Biology, Vol.186, No.3, 420-430, 2014
Decoration of silk fibroin by click chemistry for biomedical application
Silkfibroin (SF) has an excellent biocompatibility and its remarkable structure translates into exciting mechanical properties rendering this biomaterial particularly fascinating for biomedical application. To further boost the material's biological/preclinical impact, SF is decorated with biologics, typically by carbodiimide/N-hydroxysuccinimide coupling (EDC/NHS). For biomedical application, this chemistry challenges the product risk profile due to the formation of covalent aggregates, particularly when decoration is with biologics occurring naturally in humans as these aggregates may prime for autoimmunity. Cu(I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC; click chemistry) provides the necessary specificity to avoid such intermolecular, covalent aggregates. We present a blueprint outlining the necessary chemistry rendering SF compatible with CuAAC and with a particular focus on structural consequences. For that, the number of SF carboxyl groups (carboxyl-SF; required for EDC/NHS chemistry) or azido groups (azido-SF; required for click chemistry) was tailored by means of diazonium coupling of the SF tyrosine residues. Structural impact on SF and decorated SF was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The click chemistry yielded a better controlled product as compared to the EDC/NHS chemistry with no formation of inter- and intramolecular crosslinks as demonstrated for SF decorated with fluorescent model compounds or a biologic, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), respectively. In conclusion, SF can readily be translated into a scaffold compatible with click chemistry yielding decorated products with a better risk profile for biomedical application. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.