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Thermal Selection of Aqueous Molecular Conformations for Tailored Energetics of Peptide Assemblies at Solid Interfaces

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journal contribution
posted on 23.12.2019, 14:04 by Tyler D. Jorgenson, Deniz T. Yucesoy, Mehmet Sarikaya, René M. Overney
Key to the development of functional bioinorganic soft interfaces is the predictive control over the micron-scale assembly structure and energetics of biomolecules at solid interfaces. While assembly of labile biomolecules, such as short peptides, at interfaces is a great deal affected by the shape of the molecule, biomolecular conformations are prompted by external solution conditions, involving temperature, pH, and salt concentration. In this light, one can expect that the environmental conformational selection of aqueous biomolecules could potentially allow for fine-tuning of the equilibrium assembly structure at interfaces, as well as, the binding strength and molecular mobility within these assemblies. Here, we demonstrate the energetic and structural tailoring of two-dimensional surface assemblies of graphite-binding dodecapeptides, through the thermal selection of aqueous peptide conformations. Our findings based on a scanning probe energetic analysis, supplemented by molecular dynamics modeling, show that peptide-graphite and peptide–peptide intermolecular interactions strongly depend on the thermally selected molecular conformation and that the extent of the conformational change is directly related to the observed assembled structure. Enabled by these results was the design of a peptide with predictable binding and assembled structure, thus, suggesting environmental preconditioning of peptides as a means for controlling self-assembling active bioinorganic interfaces for bioelectronic implementations such as biomolecular fuel cells and biosensors.