Optically transparent recombinant silk-elastinlike protein polymer films

Weibing Teng, Yiding Huang, Joseph Cappello, Xiaoyi Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Recombinant protein polymers, evaluated exten-sively as biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering, are rarely reported as being optically transparent. Here we report the notable optical transparency of films composed of a genetically engineered silk-elastinlike protein polymer SELP-47K. SELP-47K films of 100 μm in thickness display a transmittance of 93% in the wavelength range of 350-800 nm. While covalent cross-linking of SELP-47K via glutaraldehyde decreases its transmittance to 77% at the wavelength of 800 nm, noncovalent cross-linking using methanol slightly increases it to 95%. Non- and covalent cross-linking of SELP-47K films also influences their secondary structures and water contents. Cell viability and proliferation analyses further reveal the excellent cytocompatibility of both non- and covalently cross-linked SELP-47K films. The combination of high optical transparency and cytocompatibility of SELP-47K films, together with their previously reported outstanding mechanical properties, suggests that this protein polymer may be useful in unique, new biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1608-1615
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 24 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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