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S Elsharkawy, M Al-Jawad, MF Pantano, E Tejeda-Montes, K Mehta, H Jamal, S Agarwal, K Shuturminska, A Rice, NV Tarakina, RM Wilson, AJ Bushby, M Alonso, JC Rodriguez-Cabello, E Barbieri, A Del Río Hernández, MM Stevens, NM Pugno, P Anderson and A Mata
Abstract
A major goal in materials science is to develop bioinspired functional materials based on the precise control of molecular building blocks across length scales. Here we report a protein-mediated mineralization process that takes advantage of disorder-order interplay using elastin-like recombinamers to program organic-inorganic interactions into hierarchically ordered mineralized structures. The materials comprise elongated apatite nanocrystals that are aligned and organized into microscopic prisms, which grow together into spherulite-like structures hundreds of micrometers in diameter that come together to fill macroscopic areas. The structures can be grown over large uneven surfaces and native tissues as acid-resistant membranes or coatings with tuneable hierarchy, stiffness, and hardness. Our study represents a potential strategy for complex materials design that may open opportunities for hard tissue repair and provide insights into the role of molecular disorder in human physiology and pathology.
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