Colloidal Properties of Recombinant Spider Silk Protein Particles

J. Phys. Chem. C 120 (2016) 18015–18027

N Helfricht, E Doblhofer, JFL Duval, T Scheibel, and G Papastavrou

Researchers from the group of Prof. Georg Papastavrou at the University of Bayreuth used the Nanosurf Flex-FPM system to perform direct force measurements in the sphere/sphere geometry. Colloidal particles have been prepared from polyanionic and polycationic recombinant spider silk proteins. The amino acid sequences of these spider silk proteins were identical except for 16 residues bearing either cationic or anionic groups, leading to opposite surface charges. Electrokinetic measurements and modelling predicted a soft and porous structure of these protein particles. The presence of a fuzzy, ion-permeable interface has been confirmed by direct force measurements with colloidal particles aspirated reversibly to a FluidFM® probe.

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