Mimicking biopolymers on a molecular scale: nano(bio)technology based on engineered proteins

Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2009 May 13;367(1894):1727-47. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2009.0012.


Proteins are ubiquitous biopolymers that adopt distinct three-dimensional structures and fulfil a multitude of elementary functions in organisms. Recent systematic studies in molecular biology and biotechnology have improved the understanding of basic functional and architectural principles of proteins, making them attractive candidates as concept generators for technological development in material science, particularly in biomedicine and nano(bio)technology. This paper highlights the potential of molecular biomimetics in mimicking high-performance proteins and provides concepts for applications in four case studies, i.e. spider silk, antifreeze proteins, blue mussel adhesive proteins and viral ion channels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Animals
  • Antifreeze Proteins / chemistry
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Biopolymers / chemistry
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Ions / chemistry
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Mytilus edulis / metabolism
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Protein Engineering / methods*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Silk / metabolism
  • Spiders


  • Antifreeze Proteins
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Biopolymers
  • Ions
  • Proteins
  • Silk
  • adhesive protein, mussel