© 2014 Future Medicine Ltd. Proteins are essential macromolecules supporting life. Being efficient catalyzers and offering specific cross-molecular contacts, proteins are largely exploited in biotechnology and biomedicine as therapeutics, in industrial catalysis or as molecular reagents. Recombinant enzymes, hormones, immunogens and antibodies are produced aiming to different applications, on the basis of their ability to interact with or modify substrates or biological targets. In nature, proteins also perform task-specific architectonic roles, and they can organize in supramolecular complexes with intriguing physical properties such as elasticity and adhesiveness, and with regulatable stiffness, flexibility and mechanical strength. Proteins have recently gained interest as materials for bioengineering and nanomedicine as they can combine these features with functionality, biocompatibility and degradability in unusually versatile composites. We revise here the fundamental properties of the diverse categories of emerging protein materials resulting from biological synthesis and how they can be genetically re-designed to engineer the interplay between mechanical and biological properties in a medically oriented exploitable way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2817-2828
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • bioengineering
  • biomaterials
  • mechanical properties
  • recombinant proteins
  • structural proteins


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