Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have studied the effect of protein interactions with nanomaterials. This is an important step to use nanomaterials for controlling the function, structure, and orientation of proteins in the body.
The scientists with expertise in biotechnology and nanotechnology examined proteins such as RNase A, lysozyme and cytochrome C. They observed whether the proteins have been adsorbed into silica nanoparticles with various sizes. The adsorbed proteins were chemically altered to produce chemical “tags”. These tags provided the key idea of protein adsorption into surfaces of silica. Using mass spectrometry, researchers understood the protein surface orientation through the tags.
From the previous and latest studies, the researchers discovered that protein structure and orientation on the surface of the nanomaterials was highly modified based on the curvature and size of the nanosurface, which affected the stability of the proteins. Stable proteins were formed due to better orientation in curved, small nanosurfaces when compared to flat, bigger nanosurfaces.
The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) director Jonathan Dordick stated that only minimum information is available on protein interaction with nanosurface. More research on this area will help in developing nanosurfaces and designing proteins to perform various functions in the body.
According to Richard Siegel, Professor at Rensselaer, the information acquired through this study will be useful for enhancing healthcare in the future. A broad variety of novel materials including biomolecules, synthetic polymers and nanostructures can be produced for solving global social issues.
The paper was published in an online edition of the journal, Nano Letters.