Mimicking the Bioactivity of Fibroblast Growth Factor-2 Using Supramolecular Nanoribbons

Charles M. Rubert Pérez, Zaida Álvarez, Feng Chen, Taner Aytun, Samuel I. Stupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) is a multifunctional growth factor that has pleiotropic effects in different tissues and organs. In particular, FGF-2 has a special role in angiogenesis, an important process in development, wound healing, cell survival, and differentiation. Therefore, incorporating biological agents like FGF-2 within therapeutic biomaterials is a potential strategy to create angiogenic bioactivity for the repair of damaged tissue caused by trauma or complications that arise from age and/or disease. However, the use of growth factors as therapeutic agents can be costly and does not always bring about efficient tissue repair due to rapid clearance from the targeted site. An alternative would be a stable supramolecular nanostructure with the capacity to activate the FGF-2 receptor that can also assemble into a scaffold deliverable to tissue. We report here on peptide amphiphiles that incorporate a peptide known to activate the FGF-2 receptor and peptide domains that drive its self-assembly into supramolecular nanoribbons. These FGF2-PA nanoribbons displayed the ability to increase the proliferation and migration of the human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in vitro to the same extent as the native FGF-2 protein at certain concentrations. We confirmed that this activity was specific to the FGFR1 signaling pathway by tracking the phosphorylation of downstream signaling effectors such ERK1/2 and pH3. These results indicated the specificity of FGF2-PA nanoribbons in activating the FGF-2 signaling pathway and its potential application as a supramolecular scaffold that can be used in vivo as an alternative to the encapsulation and delivery of the native FGF-2 protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2166-2175
Number of pages10
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 11 2017


  • fibroblast growth factor-2 mimetic peptide
  • nanoribbons
  • peptide amphiphiles
  • supramolecular biomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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