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A couple of ongoing projects in the group is looking at the applicability of mucins as materials. For instance, Dr. Hongji Yan is working on mucin hydrogel and their immune modulating properties and Georgia Petrou is working on their wound healing properties. I started working on mucins in the group of Katharina Ribbeck at MIT back in 2011. Freshly out of a PhD during which I assembled biomaterials from natural biopolymers such as heparin and hyaluronic acid, I saw mucins as extraordinary multifunctional molecules with largely untapped potentials.

And so, along with excellent colleagues at MIT, I started to build thin films, coatings, and hydrogels from mucin, exploring their antifouling properties, their dynamicity, their lubricity and hydration, and their ability to bind and release drugs. While building these materials and exploring their properties, we learn more about the mucins molecules and their physiological role. But we also explore new approaches to solving important biomedical challenges.

We are not alone to do this. Several other groups in the world are or have started exploring the use of mucins as a building block of biomaterials. The field is only nascent and was lacking a review article to give an overview of what has been achieved to this day. Georgia Petrou and I have filled that gap with a review article just published RCS’s Biomaterials Science: Petrou, G. & Crouzier, T. Mucins as multifunctional building blocks of biomaterials. Biomater Sci (2018). doi:10.1039/c8bm00471d).

The article is open access, and can be accessed on the publisher’s website here are on our publication page.

Watch out my tweeter feed (@ThomasCrouzier) for a few fun facts about mucin extracted from the paper #mucinsrock !!

 

Abstract:

Mucins are large glycoproteins that are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. Mucins coat the surfaces of many cell types and can be secreted to form mucus gels that assume important physiological roles in many animals. Our growing understanding of the structure and function of mucin molecules and their functionalities has sparked interest in investigating the use of mucins as building blocks for innovative functional biomaterials. These pioneering studies have explored how new biomaterials can benefit from the barrier properties, hydration and lubrication properties, unique chemical diversity, and bioactivities of mucins.

Owing to their multifunctionality, mucins have been used in a wide variety of applications, including as antifouling coatings, as selective filters, and artificial tears and saliva, as a basis for cosmetics, as drug delivery materials, and as natural detergents. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge regarding key mucin properties and survey how they have been put to use. We offer a vision for how mucins could be used in the near future and what challenges await the field before biomaterials made of mucins and mucin-mimics can be translated into commercial products.

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  Posts

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October 15th, 2018

Welcome to Gilai and Laise

July 30th, 2018

New review published: Mucins as multifunctional building blocks of biomaterials

July 9th, 2018

New publication: Muco-silk, an mucoadhesive engineered silk

June 26th, 2018

Thank you to the master and bachelor students of Spring 2018!!

March 7th, 2018

New mucus engineering publication from the group.

January 26th, 2018

Welcome to three new students!

August 21st, 2017

iGEM Stockholm 2017 engineering mucus – Update with gold!

August 18th, 2017

Welcome to Ulrike Schimpf and Cristina Chircov!

July 13th, 2017

Mucin-inspired lubrication on hydrophobic surfaces

March 27th, 2017

Get funded in Sweden. A guide for starting researchers.