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Fluorescent Conductive Protein-Dye Microfibers for Bioengineering Applications

By 13th April 2020No Comments

The following study was conducted by Scientists from Istituto di Scienze Applicate e Sistemi Intelligenti “E.Caianiello”, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Pozzuoli, Italy; Istituto per la Sintesi Organica e Fotoreattività, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Piero Gobetti, Bologna, Italy; Istituto di Nanotecnologia, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, c/o Campus Ecotekne – Università del Salento, via Monteroni, Italy; Istituto per la Microelettronica e Microsistemi. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Via Pietro Castellino, Napoli, Italy; ESRF, the European Synchrotron., Grenoble, France. Study is published in iScience Journal – Cell Press Publishing as detailed below.

iScience Journal – Cell Press Publishing – DOI:

In vivo Bioengineering of Fluorescent Conductive Protein-Dye Microfibers


  • The oligothiophene DTTO promotes the synthesis of microfibers in Hydra vulgaris
  • DTTO co-assembles with proteins giving rise to fluorescent and conductive microfibers
  • The biofiber synthesis is an active process, based on protein synthesis
  • In situ produced hybrid microfibers have great potential in biolectronics and biomedicine


Engineering protein-based biomaterials is extremely challenging in bioelectronics, medicine and materials science, as mechanical, electrical and optical properties need to be merged to biocompatibility and resistance to biodegradation. An effective strategy is the engineering of physiological processes in situ, by addition of new properties to endogenous components. Here we show that a green fluorescent semiconducting thiophene dye, DTTO, promotes, in vivo, the biogenesis of fluorescent conductive protein microfibers via metabolic pathways. By challenging the simple freshwater polyp Hydra vulgaris with DTTO, we demonstrate the stable incorporation of the dye into supramolecular protein-dye co-assembled microfibers without signs of toxicity. An integrated multilevel analysis including morphological, optical, spectroscopical and electrical characterization shows electrical conductivity of biofibers, opening the door to new opportunities for augmenting electronic functionalities within living tissue, which may be exploited for the regulation of cell and animal physiology, or in pathological contexts to enhance bioelectrical signaling.


iScience Journal – Cell Press Publishing



Moros, M., F. Di Maria, et al. “In vivo bioengineering of fluorescent conductive protein-dye microfibers.” iScience. DOI: