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The coiled-coil protein motif occurs in over 200 proteins and has generated interest for a range of applications requiring surface immobilization of the constituent peptides. This paper describes an investigation of the environment-responsive behavior of a monolayer of surface-immobilized artificial proteins, which are known to assemble to form coiled-coil structures in bulk solution. An extended version of the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM-D) and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) are independently employed to characterize the adsorption of the proteins to a gold surface. The data suggest that the molecules arrange in a closely packed layer orientated perpendicular to the surface. QCM-D measurements are also employed to measure pH-induced changes in the resonant frequency (f) and the energy dissipation factor (D) of a gold-coated quartz crystal functionalized with the formed monolayer. Exposure of the protein monolayer to a pH 4.5 solution results in a shift of 43 Hz in f and a shift of -0.7 x 10(-6) in D as compared to pH 7.4. In contrast, increasing the pH to 11.2, results in f and D shifts of -17 Hz and 0.6 x 10(-6), respectively. The magnitude of the observed shifts suggests that the proteins form a rigid layer at low pH that can be hydrated to a fluid layer as the pH is increased. These observations correlate with spectroscopic changes that indicate a reduction in the helical content of the protein in bulk solutions of high pH.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





7747 - 7752


Adsorption, Biosensing Techniques, Coated Materials, Biocompatible, Gold, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Leucine Zippers, Membrane Proteins, Nanotechnology, Protein Binding, Quartz, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Surface Properties, Time Factors