Control of the graphene-protein interface is required to preserve adsorbed protein function

Thomas Alava*, Jason A. Mann, Cécile Théodore, Jaime J. Benitez, William R. Dichtel, Jeevak M. Parpia, Harold G. Craighead

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Graphene's suite of useful properties makes it of interest for use in biosensors. However, graphene interacts strongly with hydrophobic components of biomolecules, potentially altering their conformation and disrupting their biological activity. We have immobilized the protein Concanavalin A onto a self-assembled monolayer of multivalent tripodal molecules on single-layer graphene. We used a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) to show that tripod-bound Concanavalin A retains its affinity for polysaccharides containing α-d-glucopyrannosyl groups as well as for the α-d-mannopyranosyl groups located on the cell wall of Bacillus subtilis. QCM measurements on unfunctionalized graphene indicate that adsorption of Concanavalin A onto graphene is accompanied by near-complete loss of these functions, suggesting that interactions with the graphene surface induce deleterious structural changes to the protein. Given that Concanavalin A's tertiary structure is thought to be relatively robust, these results suggest that other proteins might also be denatured upon adsorption onto graphene, such that the graphene-biomolecule interface must be considered carefully. Multivalent tripodal binding groups address this challenge by anchoring proteins without loss of function and without disrupting graphene's desirable electronic structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2754-2759
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume85
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 5 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

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