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Photoactivatable, mussel-based bioadhesives

In medicine, there is a long-standing demand for biocompatible glues, which can be applied for the treatment of bone fractures or accelerated wound healing. Biocompatible bio-glues must meet several demands, such as good binding strength to the tissue (adhesion), high stability under physiological wet conditions (cohesion), controllable biodegradability, no immunogenicity in the organism as well as no toxicity. However, a bio-glue that meets these demands is currently not available.

Mussel bio-adhesives are protein-based natural polymeric materials and could meet the demands mentioned above, however extraction of these bio-adhesives from homogenized raw-shell material, is possible, but complicated. It is expensive and results in very low yields. Chemical synthesis or biotechnological routes for simplified production of synthetic adhesive polymers with features similar to natural ones are still not feasible.

However, scientists at a Berlin-based German university have found a possible way to produce mussel proteins in Escherichia coli whereby those caged proteins can be activated by simple irradiation with UV light at 365 nanometers. The advantages of such photo-protected proteins are that they allow the production of photoactivatable bio-glues, thus one can avoid the currently well-known Dopa autoxidation to Dopaquinone (a compound involved in melanin production) as this was described to negatively impair the adhesive properties of the glue.

The university is looking for partners interested in the further development of the technology under a license or a research cooperation agreement.

If you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity, please contact Mike Brown, quoting the reference number TODE20170926001.

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