Protein-engineered polymers functionalized with antimicrobial peptides for the development of active surfaces

Ana Margarida Pereira, Diana Gomes, André da Costa, Simoni Campos Dias, Margarida Casal, Raul Machado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Antibacterial resistance is a major worldwide threat due to the increasing number of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria with medical devices being a major source of these infections. This suggests the need for new antimicrobial biomaterial designs able to withstand the increasing pressure of antimicrobial resistance. Recombinant protein polymers (rPPs) are an emerging class of nature-inspired biopolymers with unique chemical, physical and biological properties. These polymers can be functionalized with antimicrobial molecules utilizing recombinant DNA technology and then produced in microbial cell factories. In this work, we report the functionalization of rPBPs based on elastin and silk-elastin with different antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). These polymers were produced in Escherichia coli, successfully purified by employing non-chromatographic processes, and used for the production of free-standing films. The antimicrobial activity of the materials was evaluated against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and results showed that the polymers demonstrated antimicrobial activity, pointing out the potential of these biopolymers for the development of new advanced antimicrobial materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5352
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial films
  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Antimicrobial surfaces
  • Elastin-like recombinamers
  • Recombinant protein polymers
  • Silk-elastin proteins


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