What is it about?

Adhesion on silica surfaces can stabilize proteins under conditions different from the physiological ones. Using computer simulations we studied the behaviour of pepsin - an important digestive enzyme - inside a water droplet. The enzyme-containing droplet was put in contact with a flat silica surface.

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Why is it important?

For the first time, we showed that water and the charge-balancing ions are responsible of the surface-protein adhesion.


Discovering the role of water and ions in fixing the protein on the substrate would be very important for improving the encapsulation of enzymes inside porous silica matrices. In perspective, these new composites should have efficiency and selectivity comparable with that of in vivo enzymatic systems, and might be exploited also at conditions at which enzymes could not typically operate.

Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Disentangling protein-silica interactions, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, February 2012, Royal Society Publishing,
DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2011.0267.
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