Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers  The National Science Foundation

Research Highlight #13:

Selection and Analysis of Solid-Binding Peptides

F. Baneyx and D. T. Schwartz;
Materials Science & Engineering and Microbiology, University of Washington

Nature has long used peptide- and protein-based manufacturing to create structures whose remarkable mechanical, transport, optical, and even magnetic properties are determined by a fine control of composition and architecture extending from the nanoscale to the macroscale. Although there is much to learn from the tools and strategies that have been evolutionary selected for building biomaterials, accessing compositions and architectures of engineering interest is crucial to the development of the next generation of hybrid functional materials. In recent years, portable amino acid sequences selected from combinatorial libraries and supporting the assembly, nucleation, and geometrical organization of solid phases have emerged as attractive tools for bionanofabrication. Here, we review how these polypeptides are selected and progress in the understanding of their interaction with inorganic and synthetic materials.

Contact F. Baneyx, for more details,

Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 18 312-317 (2007).