Biomimetics articles within Nature Communications


  • Article
    | Open Access

    The mechanical properties of spider silk are a consequence of the structural organisation of proteins known as spidroins. Here the authors investigate the structure of the fibers formed by a C-terminal domain of a major spidroin: the study elucidates the mechanisms by which spidroins are transformed from soluble form into a fiber.

    • Danilo Hirabae De Oliveira
    • , Vasantha Gowda
    •  & My Hedhammar
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Despite the enormous progress in the field of giant lipid vesicles, their use for in vivo biomedical applications is limited. Here, the authors discuss red blood cells as inspiration for enhancing those vesicles, investigating the required cellular features and the corresponding technical hurdles.

    • Jorik Waeterschoot
    • , Willemien Gosselé
    •  & Xavier Casadevall i Solvas
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The cis-peptide bond is rare in natural proteins and its impact on protein folding is elusive. Here the authors break the conventional understanding that cis-amide-favoring residues destabilize proteins, elucidate the principles of peptoid cis-trans isomerization in collagen folding, and showcase the use of cis-amide-favoring residues in building programmable and functional peptidomimetics.

    • Rongmao Qiu
    • , Xiaojing Li
    •  & Yang Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The biomimicry of animals’ appendage repurposing can be applied to robot designs, resulting in unparalleled capabilities. Sihite et al. report a Multi-Modal Mobility Morphobot (M4) that negotiate unstructured, multi-substrate environments, including land and air, by employing its components in different ways as wheels, thrusters, and legs.

    • Eric Sihite
    • , Arash Kalantari
    •  & Morteza Gharib
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In this work, the authors synthetized hydrogels that mimic cryptic sites in the native extracellular matrix (ECM) using switch peptides. They report how in response to enzymes on the surface of endothelial cells the inert matrix is transformed into a bioadhesive synthetic ECM.

    • Yumeng Zhu
    • , Yulia Shmidov
    •  & John B. Matson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Active targeting and cytosolic delivery of therapeutic payloads are challenging in small extracellular vesicle-based drug delivery systems. Here, the authors engineer fusogen and targeting moiety co-functionalized cell-derived nanovesicles, which can selectively bind to target cells and efficiently fulfill cytosolic delivery through membrane fusion.

    • Lixue Wang
    • , Guosheng Wang
    •  & Yuan Wan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Transmembrane signaling is the core adaptation in nature that allows cells to communicate. Here, the authors engineer signaling through the lipid bilayer using chemical, synthetic receptors for their use in the design of artificial cells.

    • Ane Bretschneider Søgaard
    • , Andreas Bøtker Pedersen
    •  & Alexander N. Zelikin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Proinflammatory macrophages are involved in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here the authors use an efferocytosis-mimetic self-deliverable nanoimitator to mitigate RA by targeted reprogramming of synovial inflammatory macrophages, reducing proinflammatory cytokines and reinstating articular immune homeostasis.

    • Shengchang Zhang
    • , Ying Liu
    •  & Xinyi Jiang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Protoissues have received a lot of attention for studying cell interaction and for biomedical engineering. Here, the authors demonstrate a high-throughput, bottom-up approach to assemble spatial programmable prototissues based on the magnetic Archimedes affect and demonstrate biomedical application for producing NO for vasodilation.

    • Xiangxiang Zhang
    • , Chao Li
    •  & Xiaojun Han
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In this manuscript, an electric-field-assisted self-assembly technique that can allow controllable and scalable fabrication of 3-dimensional block copolymer (BCP)-based artificial cell membranes (3DBCPMs) immobilized on predefined locations is presented.

    Topographically and chemically structured microwell array templates facilitate uniform patterning of BCPs and serve as reactors for the effective growth of 3DBCPMs, which diverse shapes, sizes and stability can be tuned by modulating the BCP concentration and the amplitude/frequency of the electric field.

    The potential of 3DBCPMs for a variety of biological applications is highlighted by performance of in vitro protein-membrane assays and mimicking of human intestinal organs.

    • Dong-Hyun Kang
    • , Won Bae Han
    •  & Tae Song Kim
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Insect-like biomimetic compound eyes have many technological applications. Here, the authors present a facile fabrication scheme involving microfluidics assisted 3D printing that permits to completely separate design, optimization and construction of optical and sensor components.

    • Bo Dai
    • , Liang Zhang
    •  & Dawei Zhang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A variety of artificial cells springs from the functionalization of liposomes with proteins but these models suffer from low durability without repair and replenishment mechanisms. Here, the authors show that synthetic amphiphile membranes undergo SNARE-mediated fusion, and determine bending rigidity and pore edge tension as key parameters for fusion.

    • Lado Otrin
    • , Agata Witkowska
    •  & Tanja Vidaković-Koch
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The clinical application of magnetic hyperthermia therapy (MHT) is limited by the poor magnetic-to-thermal conversion efficiency of MHT agents. Here, the authors develop encapsulin-produced magnetic iron oxide nanocomposites (eMIONs) with excellent magnetic-heat capability and catalysis-triggered tumor suppression ability to overcome the critical issues of MHT.

    • Yang Zhang
    • , Xiaoyong Wang
    •  & Gang Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Precise patterning of lipid-stabilised aqueous droplets is a key challenge in building synthetic tissue designs. Here, the authors show how the interactions between pairs of droplets direct the packing of droplets within 3D-printed networks, enabling the formation of synthetic tissues with high-resolution features.

    • Alessandro Alcinesio
    • , Oliver J. Meacock
    •  & Hagan Bayley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Artificial nanopores can perform selective gating of molecules analogous to transmembrane proteins. Here, the authors design a DNA origami pore with a controllable lid for size-selective gating and translocation of macromolecules and evaluate its biosensing properties by single particle assay.

    • Rasmus P. Thomsen
    • , Mette Galsgaard Malle
    •  & Jørgen Kjems
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Bone tissue is a complex organic-inorganic nanocomposite and strategies that replicate the characteristics of bone tissue are scarce. Here the authors demonstrate the deposition of nanoscale apatite in collagen embedded with mesenchymal, vascular and nerve cells, using a protein-guided biomineralization approach.

    • Greeshma Thrivikraman
    • , Avathamsa Athirasala
    •  & Luiz E. Bertassoni
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The ability to mimic aspects of cellular process that rely on reaction-diffusion gradients could provide a step to building life-like systems capable of complex behaviour. Here the authors demonstrate morphological differentiation in coacervate micro-droplets.

    • Liangfei Tian
    • , Mei Li
    •  & Stephen Mann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biomimetic “noses” have been proposed to replace trained animals for chemical detection. Here the authors select 31 mouse olfactory receptors (ORs), based on a large cell-based screen of >800 ORs against seven chemicals, to build an OR-based sensor able to discriminate structurally similar compounds.

    • Hitoshi Kida
    • , Yosuke Fukutani
    •  & Hiroaki Matsunami
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Peptoids are promising crystallization agents, as they offer the molecular recognition capabilities of proteins and peptides but with higher stability and synthetic tunability. Here, the authors show that sequence-defined peptoids can controllably template the formation and shape evolution of gold nanostructures with defined morphologies.

    • Feng Yan
    • , Lili Liu
    •  & Chun-Long Chen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ion gating in biological channels is commonly controlled by functional elements. Here, the authors elucidate the contribution of outer-surface functional elements on ion gating of biomimetic nanochannels, providing insight into the design of effective nanochannel-based biosensors and electronics.

    • Xinchun Li
    • , Tianyou Zhai
    •  & Fan Xia
  • Article
    | Open Access

    DNA nanostructures can cage enzymes but currently fall short of controlling their reactions with substrates. Here, the authors enclose an enzyme inside a dynamic DNA vault, which regulates its access to substrate molecules—and thus its enzymatic activity—through a multi-lock mechanism.

    • Guido Grossi
    • , Mette Dalgaard Ebbesen Jepsen
    •  & Ebbe Sloth Andersen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Nanomaterials that form a bioelectronic interface with cells are fascinating tools for controlling cellular behavior. Here, the authors photostimulate single cells with spiky assemblies of semiconducting quinacridone nanocrystals, whose nanoscale needles maximize electronic contact with the cells.

    • Mykhailo Sytnyk
    • , Marie Jakešová
    •  & Eric Daniel Głowacki
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Suspension-feeding fish, such as goldfish and whale sharks, retain prey without clogging their oral filter. Using a cross-step filtration model based on fish morphology, Sanderson et al. show how vortices generated by this design could trap and transport particles even smaller than the filter pores.

    • S. Laurie Sanderson
    • , Erin Roberts
    •  & Hannah Brooks
  • Review Article |

    There are many examples in nature of biological materials having developed interesting mechanical properties to enhance their functional performance. Here, Egan et al. review these materials and how they can inspire the design of biomimetic mechanical systems.

    • Paul Egan
    • , Robert Sinko
    •  & Sinan Keten
  • Article |

    Electrospinning is a useful method of biomaterial fabrication, but a lack of bioactivity in the final construct can limit their application as mimics for biological matrices. Here, the authors fabricate a degradable electrospun scaffold as an in vitro and in vivomimic of the extracellular matrix.

    • Ryan J. Wade
    • , Ethan J. Bassin
    •  & Jason A. Burdick
  • Article |

    Gramicidin A pores are important natural structures for the transport of ions through biological membranes. Here, the authors show that this functionality can be mimicked using an artificial transmembrane channel formed of synthetic pore-forming compounds.

    • Mihail Barboiu
    • , Yann Le Duc
    •  & Thomas Fyles
  • Article |

    Colour changes in response to external stimuli are common in nature, from turkey skin to butterfly wings. Here, inspired by this behaviour, the authors have developed a sensor capable of providing an individual colour response to specific target chemicals using genetically engineered viruses.

    • Jin-Woo Oh
    • , Woo-Jae Chung
    •  & Seung-Wuk Lee
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The topographical features of insect wings result in some interesting surface properties, including hydrophobicity and antibacterial activity. Here the authors identify the surface of black silicon as a mimic of dragonfly wings and show that it too possesses antibacterial activity.

    • Elena P. Ivanova
    • , Jafar Hasan
    •  & Russell J. Crawford
  • Article |

    The complex shapes of biological tissues are often formed as a result of stress modulations. Wu et al.exploit such behaviour experimentally and theoretically to demonstrate a new mechanism of the formation of three-dimensional structures that is driven by engineered small-scale stresses within patterned hydrogel sheets.

    • Zi Liang Wu
    • , Michael Moshe
    •  & Eugenia Kumacheva
  • Article |

    Spider silk adhesion is reliant on sticky droplets composed of glycoproteins surrounded by an aqueous coat. Sahni and co-workers show that these droplets behave as viscoelastic solids that enable large, rate-dependent adhesive forces capable of trapping fast- and slow-moving prey.

    • Vasav Sahni
    • , Todd A. Blackledge
    •  & Ali Dhinojwala