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Accelerated Nucleation of Hydroxyapatite Using an Engineered Hydrophobin Fusion Protein

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journal contribution
posted on 24.03.2016, 00:00 by Melanie Melcher, Sandra J. Facey, Thorsten M. Henkes, Thomas Subkowski, Bernhard Hauer
Calcium phosphate mineralization is of particular interest in dental repair. A biomimetic approach using proteins or peptides is a highly promising way to reconstruct eroded teeth. In this study, the screening of several proteins is described for their binding and nucleating activities toward hydroxyapatite. Out of 27 tested candidates, only two hydrophobin fusion proteins showed binding abilities to hydroxyapatite in a mouthwash formulation and an increased nucleation in artificial saliva. Using a semirational approach, one of the two candidates (DEWA_5), a fusion protein consisting of a truncated section of the Bacillus subtilis synthase YaaD, the Aspergillus nidulans hydrophobin DEWA, and the rationally designed peptide P11-4 described in the literature, could be further engineered toward a faster mineral formation. The variants DEWA_5a (40aaYaaD-SDSDSD-DEWA) and DEWA_5b (40aaYaaD-RDRDRD-DEWA) were able to enhance the nucleation activity without losing the ability to form hydroxyapatite. In the case of variant DEWA_5b, an additional increase in the binding toward hydroxyapatite could be achieved. Especially with the variant DEWA_5a, the protein engineering of the rationally designed peptide sequence resulted in a resemblance of an amino acid motif that is found in nature. The engineered peptide resembles the amino acid motif in dentin phosphoprotein, one of the major proteins involved in dentinogenesis.