Article

Programmable biofilm-based materials from engineered curli nanofibres

  • Nature Communications 5, Article number: 4945 (2014)
  • doi:10.1038/ncomms5945
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Abstract

The significant role of biofilms in pathogenicity has spurred research into preventing their formation and promoting their disruption, resulting in overlooked opportunities to develop biofilms as a synthetic biological platform for self-assembling functional materials. Here we present Biofilm-Integrated Nanofiber Display (BIND) as a strategy for the molecular programming of the bacterial extracellular matrix material by genetically appending peptide domains to the amyloid protein CsgA, the dominant proteinaceous component in Escherichia coli biofilms. These engineered CsgA fusion proteins are successfully secreted and extracellularly self-assemble into amyloid nanofibre networks that retain the functions of the displayed peptide domains. We show the use of BIND to confer diverse artificial functions to the biofilm matrix, such as nanoparticle biotemplating, substrate adhesion, covalent immobilization of proteins or a combination thereof. BIND is a versatile nanobiotechnological platform for developing robust materials with programmable functions, demonstrating the potential of utilizing biofilms as large-scale designable biomaterials.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Z.B. acknowledges the NSF GRF for funding. P.R.T. is grateful for funding from the A*STAR National Science Graduate Fellowship (Singapore). We thank Professor Matthew R. Chapman (University of Michigan) for the kind donation of the LSR10 E. coli strain, the anti-CsgA antibody and assistance with technical queries. We also thank Professor Anthony G. Hay (Cornell University) for providing the PHL628-ΔcsgA strain. The AgfA homology model protein structure was graciously provided by Professor Aaron P. White (University of Saskatchewan).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Peter Q. Nguyen
    • , Pei Kun R. Tay
    •  & Neel S. Joshi
  2. Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Peter Q. Nguyen
    • , Zsofia Botyanszki
    • , Pei Kun R. Tay
    •  & Neel S. Joshi
  3. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Zsofia Botyanszki

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Contributions

P.Q.N and N.S.J. conceived of the concept and designed the research. Z.B. expressed the GFP-SpyCatcher protein and performed the epifluorescence experiments. P.R.T. and P.Q.N. performed the stainless-steel binding experiments. All other experiments were performed by P.Q.N. All authors analyzed the data. P.Q.N. and N.S.J. wrote the paper with discussions and contributions from all other authors. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors have applied for a patent based on this work, 'Genetic Reprogramming of Bacterial Biofilms,' Pending Patent Application PCT/US14/35095.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Neel S. Joshi.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1-11, Supplementary Tables 1-3 and Supplementary References

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