Structural characterization of adsorbed helical and beta-sheet peptides
Samuel, Newton Thangadurai
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Adsorbed peptides on surfaces have potential applications in the fields of biomaterials, tissue engineering, peptide microarrays and nanobiotechnology. The surface region, the "biomolecular interface" between a material and the biological environment, plays a crucial role in these applications. As a result, characterization of adsorbed peptide structure, especially with respect to identity, concentration, spatial distribution, conformation and orientation, is important. The present research employs NEXAFS (near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy) and SFG (sum frequency generation spectroscopy) to provide information about the adsorbed peptide structure. Soft X-ray NEXAFS is a synchrotron-based technique which typically utilizes polarized X-rays to interrogate surfaces under ultra-high vacuum conditions. SFG is a non-linear optical technique which utilizes a combination of a fixed visible and a tunable infrared laser beams to generate a surface-vibrational spectrum of surface species. SFG has the added advantage of being able to directly analyze the surface-structure at the solid-liquid interface.The main goals of the present research were twofold: characterize the structure of adsorbed peptides (1) ex situ using soft X-ray NEXAFS, and (2) in situ using non-linear laser spectroscopy (SFG). Achieving the former goal involved first developing a comprehensive characterization of the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen k-edge NEXAFS spectra for amino acids, and then using a series of helical and beta-sheet peptides to demonstrate the sensitivity of polarization-dependent NEXAFS to secondary structure of adsorbed peptides. Characterizing the structure of adsorbed peptides in situ using SFG involved developing a model system to probe the solid-liquid interface in situ; demonstrating the ability to probe the molecular interactions and adsorbed secondary structure; following the time-dependent ordering of the adsorbed peptides; and establishing the ability to obtain high-resolution peptide-surface interactions in situ. The results from the present research establish SFG and NEXAFS as powerful techniques for chemical and structural characterization of surfaces and biomolecules immobilized onto those surfaces.
- Chemical engineering