Mechanical Properties of Tandem-Repeat Proteins Are Governed by Network Defects

Abdon Pena-Francesch, Huihun Jung, Mo Segad, Ralph H. Colby, Benjamin D. Allen, Melik C. Demirel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Topological defects in highly repetitive structural proteins strongly affect their mechanical properties. However, there are no universal rules for structure-property prediction in structural proteins due to high diversity in their repetitive modules. Here, we studied the mechanical properties of tandem-repeat proteins inspired by squid ring teeth proteins using rheology and tensile experiments as well as spectroscopic and X-ray techniques. We also developed a network model based on entropic elasticity to predict structure-property relationships for these proteins. We demonstrated that shear modulus, elastic modulus, and toughness scale inversely with the number of repeats in these proteins. Through optimization of structural repeats, we obtained highly efficient protein network topologies with 42 MJ/m3 ultimate toughness that are capable of withstanding deformations up to 350% when hydrated. Investigation of topological network defects in structural proteins will improve the prediction of mechanical properties for designing novel protein-based materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)884-891
Number of pages8
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 12 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanical Properties of Tandem-Repeat Proteins Are Governed by Network Defects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this