Simulation of novel soy protein-based systems for tissue regeneration applications

Dafna Knani*, Hilla Barkay-Olami, David Alperstein, Meital Zilberman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In the present research, molecular modeling methods were used to study novel porous soy protein conjugates with gelatin or alginate, which were recently developed as potential scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. Gelatin (protein) and alginate (polysaccharides) were chemically crosslinked to soy protein isolates (SPI) in order to obtain a porous 3D network. Computational tools were applied to estimate the crosslinking degree and compare the degradation rate of soy–gelatin or soy–alginate conjugates. Soy protein 3D structure was obtained from the Protein Data Bank (PDB). Alginate and gelatin structures were built and subjected to dynamic simulation using the molecular modeling package Material Studio 7.0. The crosslinking degree was estimated by the miscibility of the two reactants and the interaction with the crosslinking agents 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC) or glyoxal. The calculations revealed that soy protein mixes well with gelatin but not with alginate. Radial distribution function (RDF) calculations showed that the interaction distance between alginate and EDC is significantly shorter than between gelatin and EDC, probably because of ionic attraction between the ammonium groups of EDC and the carboxylate groups in alginate, which facilitates the crosslinking reaction. The degradation rate of soy protein conjugates was related to their interaction with water. It was found that the solubility of soy–gelatin in water is higher than soy–alginate and that water molecules form more hydrogen bonds with soy–gelatin than with soy–alginate. These findings might be the reason for the observed difference in degradation rate of the two conjugates; the soy–gelatin degrades faster than soy–alginate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-505
Number of pages10
JournalPolymers for Advanced Technologies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • MD simulation
  • alginate
  • gelatin
  • scaffold for tissue engineering
  • soy protein isolates


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