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Directing Polymorph Specific Calcium Carbonate Formation with De Novo Protein Templates

December 14, 2023

Davila Nature Comm Highlight Graphic.jpg

Concept and design of protein template (top), that nucleates nano-calcite, which then assembles to form a calcite mesocyrstal (bottom)

Scientific Achievement

We developed an approach to designing protein-based templates that direct calcite nucleation and determined the resulting pathways of nucleation and growth.

Significance and Impact

The results show that crystal polymorph, size, and shape can be tuned via protein structure and chemistry, paving the way for the development of hierarchical materials using rationally designed molecular templates.

Research Details

  • Carried out computational design, biochemical characterization, and screening for ability to direct CaCO₃ mineralization for a range of de novo designed proteins

  • Followed in-situ and ex-situ nucleation pathway and growth of the resulting nanocrystals

  • Tested the effect of varying the dimensions and surface chemistry of the protein templates

Davila-Hernandez, F.A., B. Jin, H. Pyles, S. Zhang, Z. Wang, T.F. Huddy, J.J. De Yoreo, and D. Baker. (2023). Directing polymorph specific calcium carbonate formation with de novo protein templates. Nature Communications 14 (8191). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17562-1

Work was performed at the University of of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Thrust 1: Emergence of Order: Research


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