Probing the molecular mechanisms of quartz-binding peptides

Ersin Emre Oren, Rebecca Notman, Il Won Kim, John Spencer Evans, Tiffany R. Walsh, Ram Samudrala, Candan Tamerler, Mehmet Sarikaya

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Understanding the mechanisms of biomineralization and the realization of biology-inspired inorganic materials formation largely depends on our ability to manipulate peptide/solid interfacial interactions. Material interfaces and biointerfaces are critical sites for bioinorganic synthesis, surface diffusion, and molecular recognition. Recently adapted biocombinatorial techniques permit the isolation of peptides recognizing inorganic solids that are used as molecular building blocks, for example, as synthesizers, linkers, and assemblers. Despite their ubiquitous utility in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and medicine, the fundamental mechanisms of molecular recognition of engineered peptides binding to inorganic surfaces remain largely unknown. To explore propensity rules connecting sequence, structure, and function that play key roles in peptide/solid interactions, we combine two different approaches: a statistical analysis that searches for highly enriched motifs among de novo designed peptides, and, atomistic simulations of three experimentally validated peptides. The two strong and one weak quartz-binding peptides were chosen for the simulations at the quartz (100) surface under aqueous conditions. Solution-based peptide structures were analyzed by circular dichroism measurements. Small and hydrophobic residues, such as Pro, play a key role at the interface by making close contact with the solid and hindering formation of intrapeptide hydrogen bonds. The high binding affinity of a peptide may be driven by a combination of favorable enthalpic and entropic effects, that is, a strong binder may possess a large number of possible binding configurations, many of which having relatively high binding energies. The results signify the role of the local molecular environment among the critical residues that participate in solid binding. The work herein describes molecular conformations inherent in material-specific peptides and provides fundamental insight into the atomistic understanding of peptide/solid interfaces.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)11003-11009
    Number of pages7
    Issue number13
    StatePublished - Jul 6 2010

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Materials Science
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Surfaces and Interfaces
    • Spectroscopy
    • Electrochemistry


    Dive into the research topics of 'Probing the molecular mechanisms of quartz-binding peptides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this