Hydrophobins are proteins exclusively produced by filamentous fungi. They self-assemble at hydrophilic-hydrophobic interfaces into an amphipathic film. This protein film renders hydrophobic surfaces of gas bubbles, liquids, or solid materials wettable, while hydrophilic surfaces can be turned hydrophobic. These properties, among others, make hydrophobins of interest for medical and technical applications. For instance, hydrophobins can be used to disperse hydrophobic materials; to stabilize foam in food products; and to immobilize enzymes, peptides, antibodies, cells, and anorganic molecules on surfaces. At the same time, they may be used to prevent binding of molecules. Furthermore, hydrophobins have therapeutic value as immunomodulators and can been used to produce recombinant proteins.
- Surface modification