2014 Volume 35, Issue 24, p6157-6163
Although protein adsorption to surface is a common phenomenon, investigation of the process is challenging due to the complexity of the interplay between external factors, protein and surface properties. Therefore experimental approaches have to measure the properties of adsorbed protein layers with high accuracy in order to achieve a comprehensive description of the process. To this end, we used a combination of two biosensing techniques, dual polarization interferometry and quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation. From this, we are able to extract surface coverage values, layer structural parameters, water content and viscoelastic properties to examine the properties of protein layers formed at the liquid/solid interface. Layer parameters were examined upon adsorption of proteins of varying size and structural properties, on surfaces with opposite polarity. We show that "soft" proteins such as unfolded α-synuclein and high molecular weight albumin are highly influenced by the surface polarity, as they form a highly diffuse and hydrated layer on the hydrophilic silica surface as opposed to the denser, less hydrated layer formed on a hydrophobic methylated surface. These layer properties are a result of different orientations and packing of the proteins. By contrast, lysozyme is barely influenced by the surface polarity due to its intrinsic structural stability. Interestingly, we show that for a similar molecular weight, the unfolded α-synuclein forms a layer with the highest percentage of solvation not related to surface coverage but resulting from the highest water content trapped within the protein. Together, these data reveal a trend in layer properties highlighting the importance of the interplay between protein and surface for the design of biomaterials.
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