Fabrication of fibrillosomes from droplets stabilized by protein nanofibrils at all-aqueous interfaces

Yang Song, Ulyana Shimanovich, Thomas C.T. Michaels, Qingming Ma, Jingmei Li, Tuomas P.J. Knowles, Ho Cheung Shum

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114 Scopus citations


All-aqueous emulsions exploit spontaneous liquid-liquid separation and due to their water-based nature are particular advantageous for the biocompatible storage and processing of biomacromolecules. However, the ultralow interfacial tensions characteristic of all-aqueous interfaces represent an inherent limitation to the use of thermally adsorbed particles to achieve emulsion stability. Here, we use protein nanofibrils to generate colloidosome-like two-dimensional crosslinked networks of nanostructures templated by all-aqueous emulsions, which we term fibrillosomes. We show that this approach not only allows us to operate below the thermal limit at ultra-low surface tensions but also yields structures that are stable even in the complete absence of an interface. Moreover, we show that the growth and multilayer deposition of fibrils allows us to control the thickness of the capsule shells. These results open up the possibility of stabilizing aqueous two-phase systems using natural proteins, and creating self-standing protein capsules without the requirement for three-phase emulsions or water/oil interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12934
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 11 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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© The Author(s) 2016.


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