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Laying out ground rules for protein-aided nanofabrication: ZnO synthesis at 70°C as a case study

Authors

  • Sathana Kitayaporn,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Box 351750, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1750; telephone: 206-685-4815 (D.T.S.)/206-685-7659 (F.B.); fax: 206-685-3451
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  • Weibin Zhou,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Box 351750, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1750; telephone: 206-685-4815 (D.T.S.)/206-685-7659 (F.B.); fax: 206-685-3451
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  • Daniel T. Schwartz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Box 351750, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1750; telephone: 206-685-4815 (D.T.S.)/206-685-7659 (F.B.); fax: 206-685-3451
    • Department of Chemical Engineering, Box 351750, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1750; telephone: 206-685-4815 (D.T.S.)/206-685-7659 (F.B.); fax: 206-685-3451.
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  • François Baneyx

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Box 351750, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1750; telephone: 206-685-4815 (D.T.S.)/206-685-7659 (F.B.); fax: 206-685-3451
    • Department of Chemical Engineering, Box 351750, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1750; telephone: 206-685-4815 (D.T.S.)/206-685-7659 (F.B.); fax: 206-685-3451.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Designer proteins that incorporate solid-binding peptides hold promise to control the nucleation, growth, morphology, and assembly of inorganic phases under mild conditions of temperature and pressure. However, protein-aided nanofabrication remains more art than science and some materials can only be synthesized at temperatures that cause most mesophilic proteins to unfold. Using zinc oxide (ZnO) synthesis at 70°C as case study, we show here that seemingly unimportant variables, such as the carry-over concentration of Tris buffer and the “empty” host protein scaffold can exert a significant influence on materials morphology. We also show that, once well-controlled conditions are established, thermodynamic predictions and adsorption isotherms are powerful tools to understand how various ZnO-binding sequence inserted within the thermostable framework of Escherichia coli thioredoxin A (TrxA) affect inorganic morphogenesis. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109:1912–1918. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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