Forisomes: multi-talents of biotechnology
Forisomes are unique, structural multiprotein complexes occurring exclusively in the phloem of plants belonging to the legume family. When the tissue is injured, they undergo a calcium-induced, reversible and ATP-independent structural change from a spindle-shaped to a plug-like form. In nature, this serves to rapidly close wounds within milliseconds and prevents the loss of the nutrient-rich phloem sap.
Using modern molecular biology methods, we are investigating the structure and reaction principle of these mechanoproteins. We succeeded in knowledge-based production of large quantities of functional, artificial forisomes and demonstrated their suitability as smart biomaterials.
The fusion of forisomes with enzymes, so-called "forizymes", enables the stepwise production and immobilization of single and multi-enzyme complexes, whose special modification allows precise functionalization in microchannels of lab-on-a-chip systems. The combination of their catalytic and stimulus-dependent activity opens up new attractive fields of application in biosensors and microfluidics.