Solid-binding Proteins for Modification of Inorganic Substrates
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Robust and simple strategies to directly functionalize graphene- and diamond-based nanostructures with proteins are of considerable interest for biologically driven manufacturing, biosensing and bioimaging. In this work, we identify a new set of carbon binding peptides that vary in overall hydrophobicity and charge, and engineer two of these sequences (Car9 and Car15) within the framework of various proteins to exploit their binding ability. In addition, we conducted a detailed analysis of the mechanisms that underpin the interaction of the fusion proteins with carbon and silicon surfaces. Through these insights, we were able to develop proteins suitable for dispersing graphene flakes and carbon nanotubes in aqueous solutions, while retaining protein activity. Additionally, our investigation into the mechanisms of adhesion for our carbon binding peptides inspired a cheap, disposable protein purification system that is more than 10x cheaper than commonly used His-tag protein purification. Our results emphasize the importance of understanding both bulk and molecular recognition events when exploiting the adhesive properties of solid-binding peptides and proteins in technological applications.
- Chemical engineering