Oil-and-water approach from Richmond's UO lab to spark new line of versatile peptoid nanosheets
Scientists, including University of Oregon chemist Geraldine Richmond, have tapped oil and water to create scaffolds of self-assembling, synthetic proteins called peptoid nanosheets that mimic complex biological mechanisms and processes.
The accomplishment -- detailed this week in a paper placed online ahead of print by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- is expected to fuel an alternative design of the two-dimensional peptoid nanosheets that can be used in a broad range of applications. Among them could be improved chemical sensors and separators, and safer, more effective drug-delivery vehicles.
Study co-author Ronald Zuckermann of the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) first developed these ultra-thin nanosheets in 2010 using an air-and-water combination.
"We often think of oil on water as something that is environmentally bad when, in fact, my group over the past 20 years has been studying the unique properties of the junction between water and oil as an interesting place for molecules to assemble in unique ways -- including for soaps and oil dispersants," said Richmond, who holds a UO presidential chair. "This study shows it is also a unique platform for making nanosheets."
Lead authors on the project were Ellen J. Robertson, a doctoral student in Richmond's lab at the time of the research, and Gloria K. Oliver, a postdoctoral researcher at LBNL. Robertson is now a postdoctoral researcher at LBNL.
Work in Richmond's lab helped to identify the mechanism behind the formation of the nanosheets at an oil-water interface.
"Supramolecular assembly at an oil-water interface is an effective way to produce 2D nanomaterials from peptoids because that interface helps pre-organize the peptoid chains to facilitate their self-interaction," said Zuckermann, a senior scientist at LBNL's Molecular Foundry in a news release. "This increased understanding of the peptoid assembly mechanism should enable us to scale-up to produce large quantities, or scale- down, using microfluidics, to screen many different nanosheets for novel functions."
Zuckermann and Richmond are the corresponding authors on the paper. Additional co-authors are Menglu Qian and Caroline Proulx, both of LBNL.
Like natural proteins, synthetic proteins fold and conform into structures that allow them to do specific functions. In his earlier work, Zuckermann's team at LBNL's Molecular Foundry discovered a technique to synthesize peptoids into sheets that were just a few nanometers thick but up to 100 micrometers in length. These were among the largest and thinnest free-floating organic crystals ever made, with an area-to-thickness equivalent of a plastic sheet covering a football field.
"Peptoid nanosheet properties can be tailored with great precision," Zuckermann says, "and since peptoids are less vulnerable to chemical or metabolic breakdown than proteins, they are a highly promising platform for self-assembling bio-inspired nanomaterials."
To create the new version of the nanosheets, the research team used vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy to probe the molecular interactions between the peptoids as they assemble at the oil-water interface. The work showed that peptoid polymers adsorbed to the interface are highly ordered in a way that is influenced by interactions between neighboring molecules.
The substitution of oil in place of air creates a raft of new opportunities for the engineering and production of peptoid nanosheets, the researchers said. The oil phase, for example, could contain chemical reagents, serve to minimize evaporation of the aqueous phase or enable microfluidic production.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences (grant DE-FG02-96ER45557) supported the research done in Richmond's UO lab. Work at the Molecular Foundry at LBNL was supported by the DOE (under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (grant IACRO-B1144571).
Media Contact: Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications, 541-346-3481, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Geraldine Richmond is traveling but can be reached through the media contact above; Ronald Zuckermann, Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 510-486-7091, email@example.com
Jim Barlow | Eurek Alert!
New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond
21.11.2017 | Emory Health Sciences
The main switch
21.11.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Life Sciences