Recombinant exon-encoded resilins for elastomeric biomaterials

Guokui Qin, Amit Rivkin, Shaul Lapidot, Xiao Hu, Itan Preis, Shira B. Arinus, Or Dgany, Oded Shoseyov, David L. Kaplan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Resilin is an elastomeric protein found in specialized regions of the cuticle of most insects, providing outstanding material properties including high resilience and fatigue lifetime for insect flight and jumping needs. Two exons (1 and 3) from the resilin gene in Drosophila melanogaster were cloned and the encoded proteins expressed as soluble products in Escherichia coli. A heat and salt precipitation method was used for efficient purification of the recombinant proteins. The proteins were solution cast from water and formed into rubber-like biomaterials via horseradish peroxidase-mediated cross-linking. Comparative studies of the two proteins expressed from the two different exons were investigated by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Circular Dichrosim (CD) for structural features. Little structural organization was found, suggesting structural order was not induced by the enzyme-mediated di-tyrosine cross-links. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) was used to study the elastomeric properties of the uncross-linked and cross-linked proteins. The protein from exon 1 exhibited 90% resilience in comparison to 63% for the protein from exon 3, and therefore may be the more critical domain for functional materials to mimic native resilin. Further, the cross-linking of the recombinant exon 1 via the citrate-modified photo-Fenton reaction was explored as an alternative di-tyrosine mediated polymerization method and resulted in both highly elastic and adhesive materials. The citrate-modified photo-Fenton system may be suitable for in vivo applications of resilin biomaterials.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9231-9243
Number of pages13
Issue number35
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support from the NIH P41 Tissue Engineering Resource Center (NIBIB, P41 EB002520) is gratefully acknowledged, as is support from DARPA.


  • Biomaterials
  • Cross-linking
  • Elastomer
  • Photo-Fenton
  • Resilin


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