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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>