Efforts to engineer new materials inspired by biological structures are hampered by the lack of genomic data from many model organisms studied in biomimetic research. Here researchers from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore show that biomimetic engineering can be accelerated by integrating high-throughput RNA-seq with proteomics and advanced materials characterization. This approach can be applied to a broad range of systems, as they illustrate by investigating diverse high-performance biological materials involved in embryo protection, adhesion and predation. In one example, they rapidly engineer recombinant squid sucker ring teeth proteins into a range of structural and functional materials, including nanopatterned surfaces and photo-cross-linked films that exceed the mechanical properties of most natural and synthetic polymers. Integrating RNA-seq with proteomics and materials science facilitates the molecular characterization of natural materials and the effective translation of their molecular designs into a wide range of bio-inspired materials.
- Guerette PA, Hoon S, Seow Y, Raida M, Masic A, Wong FT, Ho VH, Kong KW, Demirel MC, Pena-Francesch A, Amini S, Tay GZ, Ding D, Miserez A. (2013) Accelerating the design of biomimetic materials by integrating RNA-seq with proteomics and materials science. Nat Biotechnol [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]