On the Compatibility Criteria for Protein Encapsulation inside Mesoporous Materials

Lara Giussani, Ettore Fois, Enrica Gianotti, Gloria Tabacchi, Aldo Gamba, Salvatore Coluccia
  • ChemPhysChem, March 2010, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1002/cphc.200901038

Criteria for enzyme encapsulation in porous hosts

What is it about?

The preparation of bioinorganic hybrid materials is a key issue in biotechnology: in fact, biologically active molecules can be stabilized under non-physiological conditions by encapsulating them into an inorganic porous host matrix. However, a good choice of the host is often very difficult. In this work, we calculated the size, shape, and flexibility of the protein pepsin and derived general accessibility criteria favouring the encapsulation of this enzyme inside mesoporous systems.

Why is it important?

A detailed knowledge of the size, shape and surface features of the biomolecule would be very useful for a successful preparation of bioinorganic hybrid materials. Our molecular dynamics simulations of pepsin in water solution at room temperature - which are the optimal conditions for encapsulation - have revealed some key criteria governing protein inclusion in porous silica matrices. The criteria are based on the average dimensions of the protein, the flexibility of its structure, and the charge distribution on its surface. These criteria are important because they can guide the synthesis of bioinorganic hybrid materials.


Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

I think the results presented herein and the proposed investigation strategy are of general relevance for increasing our understanding of the structure, stability and activity of hybrid bioinorganic composites. A molecular-level knowledge of the interactions between the protein and the porous host matrices could greatly help in optimizing the fabrication strategies of these appealing materials.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Enrica Gianotti and Gloria Tabacchi