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Materials 2016, 9(4), 221; doi:10.3390/ma9040221

Aqueous-Based Coaxial Electrospinning of Genetically Engineered Silk Elastin Core-Shell Nanofibers

1
College of Materials Science and Engineering, Taiyuan University of Technology, 79 West Yingze Street, Taiyuan 030024, China
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University, 4 Colby Street, Medford, MA 02155, USA
3
School of Textile Science and Engineering, Wuhan Textile University, Wuhan 430073, China
4
Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics (LAMM), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Nicole Zander and Hong Dong
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrospun Materials)
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Abstract

A nanofabrication method for the production of flexible core-shell structured silk elastin nanofibers is presented, based on an all-aqueous coaxial electrospinning process. In this process, silk fibroin (SF) and silk-elastin-like protein polymer (SELP), both in aqueous solution, with high and low viscosity, respectively, were used as the inner (core) and outer (shell) layers of the nanofibers. The electrospinnable SF core solution served as a spinning aid for the nonelectrospinnable SELP shell solution. Uniform nanofibers with average diameter from 301 ± 108 nm to 408 ± 150 nm were obtained through adjusting the processing parameters. The core-shell structures of the nanofibers were confirmed by fluorescence and electron microscopy. In order to modulate the mechanical properties and provide stability in water, the as-spun SF-SELP nanofiber mats were treated with methanol vapor to induce β-sheet physical crosslinks. FTIR confirmed the conversion of the secondary structure from a random coil to β-sheets after the methanol treatment. Tensile tests of SF-SELP core-shell structured nanofibers showed good flexibility with elongation at break of 5.20% ± 0.57%, compared with SF nanofibers with an elongation at break of 1.38% ± 0.22%. The SF-SELP core-shell structured nanofibers should provide useful options to explore in the field of biomaterials due to the improved flexibility of the fibrous mats and the presence of a dynamic SELP layer on the outer surface. View Full-Text
Keywords: coaxial electrospinning; core-shell structure; silk-elastin-like protein polymer; silk fibroin coaxial electrospinning; core-shell structure; silk-elastin-like protein polymer; silk fibroin
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhu, J.; Huang, W.; Zhang, Q.; Ling, S.; Chen, Y.; Kaplan, D.L. Aqueous-Based Coaxial Electrospinning of Genetically Engineered Silk Elastin Core-Shell Nanofibers. Materials 2016, 9, 221.

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