Engineered skeletal muscle act as therapeutics invaluable to treat injured or diseased muscle and a “living” material essential to assemble biological machinery. For normal development, skeletal myoblasts should express connexin 43, one of the gap junction proteins that promote myoblast fusion and myogenesis, during the early differentiation stage. However, myoblasts cultured in vitro often down-regulate connexin 43 before differentiation, limiting myogenesis and muscle contraction. This study demonstrates that tethering myoblasts with reduced graphene oxide (rGO) slows connexin 43 regression during early differentiation and increases myogenic mRNA synthesis. The whole RNA sequencing also confirms that the rGO on cells increases regulator genes for myogenesis, including troponin, while decreasing negative regulator genes. The resulting myotubes generated a three-fold larger contraction force than the rGO-free myotubes. Accordingly, a valveless biohybrid pump assembled with the rGO-tethered muscle increased the fluid velocity and flow rate considerably. The results of this study would provide an important foundation for developing physiologically relevant muscle and powering up biomachines that will be used for various bioscience studies and unexplored applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121643
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Biohybrid pump
  • Connexin 43
  • Gap junction protein
  • Reduced graphene oxide
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Troponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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