In the present paper, we report on enzyme-initiated self-assembly of Fmoc (fluoren-9-ylmethoxycarbonyl)–tyrosine hydrogels by enzymatic dephosphorylation under physiological conditions and provide evidence for the ability to control the modulus. Upon enzyme action, a self-assembling network of interconnecting fibres is formed, observed by cryo-SEM (scanning electron microscopy) and TEM (transmission electron microscopy). The concentration of alkaline phosphatase added to the Fmoc–tyrosine phosphate ester precursor solution had a direct effect on the gelation time, mechanical properties and molecular arrangements as determined through oscillatory rheology, fluorescence spectroscopy and CD spectroscopy. This highly tuneable cost-effective gel system may have applications in three-dimensional cell culture.

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