Reflectin as a Material for Neural Stem Cell Growth

R. Kautz, L. Phan, J. Arulmoli, M.M. Pathak, L.A. Flanagan, F. Tombola, A.A. Gorodetsky
University of California, Irvine,
United States

Keywords: bioelectronics, bio-inspiration, cephalopods, proton conduction, stem cells


Cephalopods possess remarkable camouflage capabilities, which are enabled by their complex skin structure and sophisticated nervous system. Such unique characteristics have in turn inspired the design of novel functional materials and devices. Within this context, recent studies have focused on investigating the self-assembly, optical, and electrical properties of reflectin, a protein that plays a key role in cephalopod structural coloration. Herein, we report the discovery that reflectin constitutes an effective material for the adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells, with an efficacy comparable to that of extracellular matrix proteins that possess cell binding domains. Our findings may hold relevance for developing novel neural stem/progenitor cell substrates and improved protein-based bioelectronic devices.