Utilizing tumor suppressor proteins to shape nanomaterials

May 3, 2017, Hokkaido University
An electron microscopy image of hexagonal silver nanoplates formed by the biomineralization peptides fused with p53Tet. Credit: Photo by Kazuyasu Sakaguchi

A new method combining tumor suppressor protein p53 and biomineralization peptide BMPep successfully created hexagonal silver nanoplates, suggesting an efficient strategy for controlling the nanostructure of inorganic materials.

Precise control of nanostructures is a key factor to functional nanomaterials. Biomimetic approaches are considered effective for fabricating nanomaterials because biomolecules are able to bind with specific targets, self-assemble, and build complex structures. Oligomerization, or the assembly of biomolecules, is a crucial aspect of natural materials that form higher-ordered structures.

Some are known to bind with a specific inorganic substance, such as silver, and enhance its crystal formation. This phenomenon, called peptide-mediated biomineralization, could be used as a biomimetic approach to create functional inorganic structures. Controlling the spatial orientation of the peptides could yield complex inorganic structures, but this has long been a great challenge.

A team of researchers led by Hokkaido University Professor Kazuyasu Sakaguchi has succeeded in controlling the oligomerization of the silver biomineralization peptide (BMPep) which led to the creation of hexagonal silver nanoplates.

(Left panels) These are schematic illustrations of monomeric and tetrameric biomineralization peptides fused with p53Tet and electron microscopy images of silver nanostructures formed by the biomineralization peptides. Scale bar = 100 nm. (Right) The proposed model in which tetrameric biomineralization peptides regulate the direction of crystal growth and therefore its nanostructure. Credit: Sakaguchi T. et al., Scientific Reports, May 3, 2017.

The team utilized the well-known p53 which has been known to form tetramers through its tetramerization domain (p53Tet). "The unique symmetry of the p53 tetramer is an attractive scaffold to be used in controlling the overall oligomerization state of the silver BMPep such as its , geometry, and valency," says Sakaguchi.

In the experiments, the team successfully created silver BMPep fused with p53Tet. This resulted in the formation of BMPep tetramers which yielded hexagonal silver nanoplates. They also found that the BMPep tetramers have enhanced specificity to the structured silver surface, apparently regulating the direction of crystal growth to form hexagonal nanoplates. Furthermore, the tetrameric peptide acted as a catalyst, controlling the 's crystal growth without consuming the peptide.

"Our novel method can be applied to other biomineralization peptides and oligomerization proteins, thus providing an efficient and versatile strategy for controlling nanostructures of various . The production of tailor-made nanomaterials is now more feasible," Sakaguchi commented.

Explore further: A versatile method to pattern functionalized nanowires

More information: Tatsuya Sakaguchi et al, Oligomerization enhances the binding affinity of a silver biomineralization peptide and catalyzes nanostructure formation, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-01442-8

Related Stories

Silver circuits on foil allow curved touchscreens

April 11, 2017

Microscopically fine conductor paths are required on the surfaces of smartphone touchscreens. At the edges of the appliances, these microscopic circuit paths come together to form larger connective pads. Until now, these ...

Thinking outside nanocluster's box

December 13, 2016

Research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, finds that silver atoms can be crafted into a box-shaped nanocluster by careful selection of ligand molecules.

Photo-initiated charge separation in nanobiohybrid complex

September 22, 2014

In natural systems, electron flow is mediated by proteins that spatially organize donor and acceptor molecules with great precision. Achieving this guided, directional flow of information is a desirable feature in photovoltaic ...

Recommended for you

Elephant and cow manure for making paper sustainably

March 21, 2018

It's likely not the first thing you think of when you see elephant dung, but this material turns out to be an excellent source of cellulose for paper manufacturing in countries where trees are scarce, scientists report. And ...

Smallest ever sieve separates atoms

March 20, 2018

Researchers at The University of Manchester have discovered that the naturally occurring gaps between individual layers of two-dimensional materials can be used as a sieve to separate different atoms.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.