From pico to nano: biofunctionalization of cube-octameric silsesquioxanes by peptides and miniproteins

Org Biomol Chem. 2012 Aug 21;10(31):6287-93. doi: 10.1039/c2ob25728a. Epub 2012 Jun 26.


Polyhedral silsesquioxanes are considered valuable conjugation scaffolds. Nevertheless, only a few examples of silsesquioxane-assembled peptide oligomers have been reported to date. We developed a new bioorthogonal cube-octameric silsesquioxane (COSS) scaffold bearing eight aminooxy coupling sites allowing for the conjugation of diverse peptides via oxime ligation. We found that the coupling efficacy depends on the ligand in view of steric hindrance and electrostatic repulsion. For the first time scaffold-based conjugation of cystine-knot miniproteins having a backbone of about thirty amino acids was successfully accomplished without loss of bioactivity. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) provided further knowledge on the size of COSS verifying them as picoscaffolds growing upon bioconjugation to nano-dimension.

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes / chemistry
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Organosilicon Compounds / chemistry*
  • Oximes / chemistry
  • Peptides / chemistry*


  • Aldehydes
  • Organosilicon Compounds
  • Oximes
  • Peptides