Hydrogels for the detection and management of protease levels

Patrick, Alison G. and Ulijn, Rein V. (2010) Hydrogels for the detection and management of protease levels. Macromolecular Bioscience, 10 (10). pp. 1184-1193.

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The design of hydrogels that simultaneously report protease activity and remove excess protease from solution is elucidated. The hydrogels, based on amino-PEGA, combine enzyme-specific peptides flanked with FRET complimented by charged amino acid residues that facilitate protease uptake via short range electrostatic interactions. Enzymatic response was analysed using a combination of fluorescence spectroscopy, two-photon microscopy and UV/Vis spectroscopy. An optimised elastase-responsive hydrogel resulted in lowering of elastase levels below those typical of chronic wounds. The versatility of the modular-design approach was demonstrated by development of matrix metalloprotease and chymotrypsin sensitive systems.