Influence of Fluorination on Protein-Engineered Coiled-Coil Fibers

Haresh T. More, Kevin S. Zhang, Nikita Srivastava, Joseph A. Frezzo, Jin K. Montclare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe the design and characterization of fluorinated coiled-coil proteins able to assemble into robust nano- and microfibers. Fluorination is achieved biosynthetically by residue-specific incorporation of 5,5,5-trifluoroleucine (TFL). The fluorinated proteins C+TFL and Q+TFL are highly α-helical as confirmed via circular dichroism (CD) and more resistant to thermal denaturation compared to their nonfluorinated counterparts, C and Q. The fluorinated proteins demonstrate enhanced fiber assembly at pH 8.0 with higher order structure in contrast to nonfluorinated proteins, which are unable to form fibers under the same conditions. Ionic strength dependent fiber assembly is observed for fluorinated as well as wild-type proteins in which the fluorinated proteins exhibited more stable, thicker fibers. The fluorinated and nonfluorinated proteins reveal metal ion-dependent small molecule recognition and supramolecular assemblies. In the presence of Zn (II), enhanced thermal stability and fiber assembly is observed for the fluorinated proteins and their nonfluorinated counterparts. Whereas Ni (II) promotes aggregation with no fiber assembly, the stabilization of α-helix by Zn (II) results in enhanced binding to curcumin by the fluorinated proteins. Surprisingly, the nonfluorinated proteins exhibit multiple-fold increase in curcumin binding in the presence of Zn (II). In the context of the growing number of protein-based fiber assemblies, these fluorinated coiled-coil proteins introduce a new paradigm in the development of highly stable, robust self-assembling fibers under more physiologically relevant pH conditions that promotes the binding and release of small molecules in response to external cues. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1217
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 13 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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