Identifying specific protein residues that guide surface interactions and orientation on silica nanoparticles

Langmuir. 2013 Aug 27;29(34):10841-9. doi: 10.1021/la401985d. Epub 2013 Aug 15.


We identify specific acylphosphatase (AcP) residues that interact with silica nanoparticles (SNPs) using a combined NMR spectroscopy and proteomics-mass spectrometry approach. AcP associated with 4- and 15-nm diameter SNPs through a common and specific interaction surface formed by amino acids from the two α-helices of the protein. Greater retention of native protein structure was obtained on 4-nm SNPs than on 15-nm particles, presumably due to greater surface curvature-induced protein stabilization with the smaller SNPs. These results demonstrate that proteins may undergo specific and size-dependent orientation on nanoparticle surfaces. Our approach can be broadly applied to various protein-material systems to help understand in much greater detail the protein-nanomaterial interface; it would also encourage better modeling, and thus prediction and design, of the behavior of functional proteins adsorbed onto different surfaces.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Proteins
  • Silicon Dioxide