GOOGLE INVESTIGATION AND USE OF AN ELASTIN-LIKE PROTEIN, CONTAINING A STATHERIN DERIVED PEPTIDE SEQUENCE, TO CONTROL BIOMIMETIC FLUORAPATITE FORMATION
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Dental enamel is an excellent example of a highly mineralised tissue, composed of hierarchically organised apatite mineral. This unique organisation gives enamel superior mechanical properties. However, when mature, enamel becomes acellular and unable to repair itself during traumatic or carious damage. The lack of self-repair requires dental intervention, where the common treatment of decayed enamel is to remove the affected and healthy tissue, and replace with restorative materials. The restorative materials, currently used, can cause further complications in the form of secondary caries or failure due to thermal and mechanical property mismatch with enamel. Problems associated with current restorative materials have driven researchers to explore biomimetic enamel treatment routes. To mimic the natural enamel formation, we can explore how proteins can guide mineral growth, in order to form enamel-like ordered mineral structures. In this thesis, the use of a synthetic, recombinant protein called an elastin-like protein (ELP) containing the analogue of the N-terminal of statherin (STNA15) was under investigation. Statherin is a protein present in saliva that is said to aid in the remineralisation of enamel. ELP with STNA15 (STNA15-ELP) has already shown promise in biomimetic mineralisation. This thesis investigated how conformation and structure of STNA15-ELP can be affected and manipulated by different chemical environments, surface constraint and crosslinking. The STNA15-ELP characteristics were related to formation of fluorapatite. STNA15-ELP conformation changed due to presence if salts in solution and whether or not it was constrained. We linked the conformational changes within STNA15-ELP, in solution versus on the surface, to two different routes of mineral formation. FAp formed in an uncontrolled manner with free STNA15-ELP. Ordered FAp formed via a precursor when STNA15-ELP was constrained on a surface. This work leads to an understanding of biomimetic mineralisation using STNA15-ELP. This information can aid in the design of novel biomimetic, enamel-like therapeutics.
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