Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 689–698 | Cite as

Recombinant artificial forisomes provide ample quantities of smart biomaterials for use in technical devices

  • Boje Müller
  • Gundula A. Noll
  • Antonia M. Ernst
  • Boris Rüping
  • Sira Groscurth
  • Richard M. Twyman
  • Lawrence M. Kawchuk
  • Dirk Prüfer
Biotechnologically Relevant Enzymes and Proteins


Forisomes are mechanoproteins that undergo ATP-independent contraction–expansion cycles triggered by divalent cations, pH changes, and electrical stimuli. Although native forisomes from Medicago truncatula comprise a number of subunits encoded by separate genes, here we show that at least two of those subunits (MtSEO1 and MtSEO4) can assemble into homomeric forisome bodies that are functionally similar to their native, multimeric counterparts. We expressed these subunits in plants and yeast, resulting in the purification of large quantities of artificial forisomes with unique characteristics depending on the expression platform. These artificial forisomes were able to contract and expand in vitro like native forisomes and could respond to electrical stimulation when immobilized between interdigital transducer electrodes. These results indicate that recombinant artificial forisomes with specific characteristics can be prepared in large amounts and used as components of microscale and nanoscale devices.


Recombinant forisomes Smart biomaterials Sieve element occlusion Yeast expression 



We gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance of Ann-Christin Müller. This work was partially supported by grants from the Bundesministerium für Forschung und Bildung (0312014B), the Fraunhofer MAVO program “Smart Plastics” and the VolkswagenStiftung, contract no. I/82 075.

Supplementary material


Movie of yeast-derived forisomes changing their conformation due to electrotitration (MPG 982 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boje Müller
    • 1
  • Gundula A. Noll
    • 2
  • Antonia M. Ernst
    • 1
  • Boris Rüping
    • 1
  • Sira Groscurth
    • 2
  • Richard M. Twyman
    • 3
  • Lawrence M. Kawchuk
    • 4
  • Dirk Prüfer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institut für Molekularbiologie und Angewandte ÖkologieAachenGermany
  2. 2.Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Institut für Biochemie und Biotechnologie der PflanzenMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  4. 4.Lethbridge Research CentreAgriculture and Agrifood CanadaLethbridgeCanada

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