Tobacco mosaic virus-based structuring tools

Tobacco mosaic virus is a 300 nm long rod-shaped plant virus with a diameter of 20 nm. Due to its well-defined dimensions in the nanometer range it has gained very high interest in the field of applied nano research. Its genetic information can be engineered efficiently, allowing modification of virus particle surface properties. We employ TMV variants presenting thiol or amino groups for coupling functional molecules such as fluorescent dyes, proteins or peptides. In-vitro assembly of TMV-like particles from different coat proteins variants and novel RNA constructs with defined numbers of nucleotides produces mixed TMV particles in distinct pre-defined length classes. These TMV scaffolds are used for optimizing distinct chemical and enzymatic coupling strategies. Modified particles serve e.g. as enzyme carriers for investigating enzyme complexes, or for structuring surfaces and hydrogels for cell growth and differentiation studies. The work is done in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Christina Wege at the University of Stuttgart.

We also work on the BMBF-funded joint project Örtlich kontrollierte Steuerung des Zellbewuchses an okularen Implantaten durch aktive Beschichtung „BioSurf“ (Controlled guidance of cell growth on ocular implants using biologically active coatings “BioSurf”) with the alamedics GmbH & Co.KG in Ulm, the Offenhäuser&Berger GmbH in Heidenheim and the ILM in Ulm.

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