Titanium (Ti) and its alloys are among the most successful implantable materials for dental and orthopedic applications. The combination of excellent mechanical and corrosion resistance properties makes them highly desirable as endosseous implants that can withstand a demanding biomechanical environment. Yet, the success of the implant depends on its osteointegration, which is modulated by the biological reactions occurring at the interface of the implant. A recent development for improving biological responses on the Ti-implant surface has been the realization that bifunctional peptides can impart material binding specificity not only because of their molecular recognition of the inorganic material surface, but also through their self-assembly and ease of biological conjugation properties. To assess peptide-based functionalization on bioactivity, the present authors generated a set of peptides for implant-grade Ti, using cell surface display methods. Out of 60 unique peptides selected by this method, two of the strongest titanium binding peptides, TiBP1 and TiBP2, were further characterized for molecular structure and adsorption properties. These two peptides demonstrated unique, but similar molecular conformations different from that of a weak binder peptide, TiBP60. Adsorption measurements on a Ti surface revealed that their disassociation constants were 15-fold less than TiBP60. Their flexible and modular use in biological surface functionalization were demonstrated by conjugating them with an integrin recognizing peptide motif, RGDS. The functionalization of the Ti surface by the selected peptides significantly enhanced the bioactivity of osteoblast and fibroblast cells on implant-grade materials.
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