Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plastic-Protein Hybrid Materials

21.12.2001


Enzymatic films for bioactive surfaces



We encounter them every day in laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, or shower gel: surfactants - surface-active substances. Surfactants belong to a category of molecules called amphiphiles, molecular hermaphrodites consisting of a water-loving (hydrophilic) "head" and a water-hating (hydrophobic) "tail". Most surfacants are small amphiphilic molecules. However, an international research team working with Roeland J. M. Nolte, University of Nijmegen, has now built "giant amphiphiles", hybrid molecules made of proteins and polymers. These new molecules are not just meant to clean better, they could find uses in biochips as well.

What’s so special about amphiphiles? In aqueous solutions, they organize themselves so that the hydrophobic tails have as little contact with the water as possible. This leads to structures such as micelles, vesicles, or films on the surface of the water (with the amphiphiles’ heads in the water and their tails in the air).


The researchers chose to use the protein streptavidin as the hydrophilic head for the construction of their giant amphiphiles. Streptavidin is made of four identical substructures that are set opposite each other in pairs. Each substructure has a binding site for biotin, a small molecule that is classified among the vitamins. This is what the Dutch researchers use to attach their hydrophobic tail; first they attach biotin molecules to polystyrene, and then they couple two biotinylated polystyrene chains to two neighboring binding sites on the streptovidin. The two opposite binding sites are left open. Just like their smaller cousins, the giant amphiphiles form films on the surface of water.

Next the empty binding sites on the streptovidin come into play; the researchers attach enzymes or other functional proteins, again by using biotin molecules. For example, Nolte and his colleagues tried this with horseradish peroxidase. The catalytic activity of the peroxidase is retained, even when it is coupled to the film.

All of this results in a polymer film with densely packed functional enzymes hanging from it. "Such a film is useful as a biosensor, or as a catalyst," explains Nolte. "Because of their dimensions and their amphiphilic character, plastic-protein hybrids are predestined for lab-on-chip technology."

Frank Maass | alohagalileo

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>