Scientists create multifunctional protein-polymer films

March 6, 2018, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Dendrimer molecule is marked yellow. The surface of the protein molecule is color-coded in accordance with the chemical properties of amino acid residues (red - positive charge, blue -- negative charge, green -- polarized, and white -- hydrophobic). Credit: Vladimir Muronetz

A team from MSU, with international and Russian colleagues, has found that mixing dendrimers (tree-like polymers) and proteins induces spontaneous multilayer films. They are easily formed and retain the activity and function of protein enzymes, which determines their potential as a material for creating biosensors and medical products. The results of the study are published in the journal Polymer.

Polymers have different structures, compositions and properties. Dendrimers are repetitively branched molecules with three chemical groups attached to a central core, each branching into groups with the same structure. This is developed via a multistage synthesis.

The number of branching points determines generation number of the dendrimer: The first-generation polymer has one branching point, the second one has two, the third has three, and so on. The further, the denser and more spherical the structure becomes, and its physical and chemical properties are preset by the functional groups on the outer layer. Dendrimers are able to form surface cavities into which molecules can be enveloped, which interests researchers. However, MSU scientists have found a completely different application for .

"We found that upon mixing of proteins with fourth-generation dendrimers, the self-assembly of multilayer nanofilms 200-700 nm thick occurs. They can be adjacent to glass or plastic surfaces, as well as be formed at the liquid-air interface," says researcher Vladimir Muronetz.

Scientists have conducted experiments on the incorporation of enzymes into the composition of nanofilms—lysozyme, which destroys , and several types of proteinases break down proteins. The researchers concluded that in the composition of nanofilms, these proteins are able to preserve activity for about two weeks. This two-component system is resistant to the action of cleaning agents and changes in the medium acidity, and is generally stable during storage. However, the main advantage of the produced films is the simplicity of their synthesis, which relies on self-assembly.

"We believe that -dendrimer films are promising materials for creating biosensors, and can also be used in medicine as bioactive dressing material," concludes Vladimir Muronetz.

Explore further: Naked-eye detection of solvent vapor

More information: Yulia Stroylova et al, Spontaneous formation of nanofilms under interaction of 4th generation pyrydylphenylene dendrimer with proteins, Polymer (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2018.01.015

Related Stories

Naked-eye detection of solvent vapor

February 28, 2018

Sensors are important for detecting contaminants and monitoring environmental conditions. Fluorescent sensors can reveal the presence of a contaminant according to the change of the intensity and/or wavelength of light that ...

Polymer movement: key to next-generation coatings

January 24, 2018

Researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, led by doctoral student Victor Selin and Dr. Svetlana Sukhishvili, are making headway in understanding fundamental principles that ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...


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.