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Comparative Study of Materials-Binding Peptide Interactions with Gold and Silver Surfaces and Nanostructures: A Thermodynamic Basis for Biological Selectivity of Inorganic Materials

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journal contribution
posted on 09.09.2014, 00:00 by J. Pablo Palafox-Hernandez, Zhenghua Tang, Zak E. Hughes, Yue Li, Mark T. Swihart, Paras N. Prasad, Tiffany R. Walsh, Marc R. Knecht
Controllable 3D assembly of multicomponent inorganic nanomaterials by precisely positioning two or more types of nanoparticles to modulate their interactions and achieve multifunctionality remains a major challenge. The diverse chemical and structural features of biomolecules can generate the compositionally specific organic/inorganic interactions needed to create such assemblies. Toward this aim, we studied the materials-specific binding of peptides selected based upon affinity for Ag (AgBP1 and AgBP2) and Au (AuBP1 and AuBP2) surfaces, combining experimental binding measurements, advanced molecular simulation, and nanomaterial synthesis. This reveals, for the first time, different modes of binding on the chemically similar Au and Ag surfaces. Molecular simulations showed flatter configurations on Au and a greater variety of 3D adsorbed conformations on Ag, reflecting primarily enthalpically driven binding on Au and entropically driven binding on Ag. This may arise from differences in the interfacial solvent structure. On Au, direct interaction of peptide residues with the metal surface is dominant, while on Ag, solvent-mediated interactions are more important. Experimentally, AgBP1 is found to be selective for Ag over Au, while the other sequences have strong and comparable affinities for both surfaces, despite differences in binding modes. Finally, we show for the first time the impact of these differences on peptide mediated synthesis of nanoparticles, leading to significant variation in particle morphology, size, and aggregation state. Because the degree of contact with the metal surface affects the peptide’s ability to cap the nanoparticles and thereby control growth and aggregation, the peptides with the least direct contact (AgBP1 and AgBP2 on Ag) produced relatively polydispersed and aggregated nanoparticles. Overall, we show that thermodynamically different binding modes at metallic interfaces can enable selective binding on very similar inorganic surfaces and can provide control over nanoparticle nucleation and growth. This supports the promise of bionanocombinatoric approaches that rely upon materials recognition.