Dr. Libo Zhou and co-authors published a new paper recently titled “Controlled Self-Assembly of DNA-Mimicking Nanotubes to Form a Layer-by-Layer Scaffold for Homeostatic Tissue Constructs” (doi: The image is also featured as one of the journal covers which is awesome!!! Congratulations!!


Abstract as seen in the manuscript

Various biomaterial scaffolds have been developed for improving stem cell anchorage and function in tissue constructs for in vitro and in vivo uses. Growth factors are typically applied to scaffolds to mediate cell differentiation. Conventionally, growth factors are not strictly localized in the scaffolds; thus, they may leak into the surrounding environment, causing undesired side effects on tissues or cells. Hence, there is a need for improved tissue construct strategies based on highly localized drug delivery and a homeostatic microenvironment. This study developed an injectable nanomatrix (NM) scaffold with a layer-by-layer structure inside each nanosized fiber of the scaffold based on controlled self-assembly at the molecular level. The NM was hierarchically assembled from Janus base nanotubes (JBNTs), matrilin-3, and transforming growth factor β-1 (TGF-β1) via bioaffinity. JBNTs, which form the NM backbone, are novel DNA-inspired nanomaterials that mimic the natural helical nanostructures of collagens. The chondrogenic factor, TGF-β1, was enveloped in the inner layer inside the NM fibers to prevent its release. Matrilin-3 was incorporated into the outer layer to create a cartilage-mimicking microenvironment and to maintain tissue homeostasis. Interestingly, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) had a strong preference to anchor along the NM fibers and formed a localized homeostatic microenvironment. Therefore, this NM has successfully generated highly organized structures via molecular self-assembly and achieved localized drug delivery and stem cell anchorage for homeostatic tissue constructs.