Multiple 2D Materials from a Single Patchy Protein

July 28, 2020

Crystalline peptoid nanosheets prepared at equimolar concentrations of Nbpe₆Nce₆ and MAL-Nbpe₆Nce₆ monomers are reacted with silica-binding derivatives of superfolder green fluorescent protein engineered with the G51C/C48S substitutions. 10-nm silica nanoparticles drive the self-assembly of a multilayer material with alternating compositions. 

Scientific Achievement

Used tunable multiscale interactions to assemble a single engineered protein into four distinct 2D crystals and achieve unusual bulk-scale properties.

Significance and Impact

Results demonstrate that proteins can be treated as patchy nanoparticles that exhibit rich phase behavior due to a balance of interaction strengths and length scales.

Research Details

  • For the first time, electric dipole interactions are shown to mediate assembly of proteins in solution.

  • Electrostatic interactions at a charged surface are used to achieve two new 4-fold symmetric crystals.

  • Protein desolvation driven by high potassium concentration leads to a unique bilayer crystal structure.

  • The resulting crystals are electrets that are predicted to exhibit piezoelectric properties.

Zhang, S., R.G. Alberstein, J.J. De Yoreo, and F.A. Tezcan. (2020). Assembly of a patchy protein into variable 2D lattices via tunable multiscale interactions. Nature Communications 11: 1-12. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17562-1

Work performed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of California, San Diego



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