Structural and Dynamic Studies of Protein-Nanomaterial Interactions
My thesis is divided into five chapters, starting with a general introduction in first chapter and sample preparation and protein-NMR assignment techniques in second chapter. The remaining three chapters focus on three different areas/projects that I have worked on. Chapter 1: Introduction to nanomaterials and all the experimental techniques This chapter reviews different kinds of nanomaterials and their application utilized for protein-nanomaterial interaction in our study, along with the introduction to different spectroscopy and microscopy techniques used for the interaction studies. Starting with introduction of nanomaterials and all the experimental techniques, which constitute the arsenal for structural studies of the protein-nanomaterial interaction, different steps enroute to structural and dynamic interaction are outlined in detail. Chapter 2: Preparation and Characterization of Proteins used for nanomaterial interaction studies Proteins are generally of three kinds- globular (structured), intrinsically disordered and membrane bound. These proteins have different functions in living organisms and play a major role to maintain metabolism and other important factors. To probe protein-nanomaterial interactions, we have chosen different protein/peptides. This chapter describes the protocol/procedure used for purifying the proteins. For studying a globular protein, ubiquitin was chosen. Nanomaterial-IDP interaction was investigated using the intrinsically disordered central linker domain of human insulin like growth factor binding protein-2 (L-hIGFBP2). The hydrophobic membrane interacting part of the prion protein was chosen as a representative membrane protein. The characterization of the proteins by NMR spectroscopy is also described. Chapter 3: A nanomaterial based novel macromolecular crowding agent Carbon quantum dots (CQD) are nanomaterials with size less than 10 nm, first obtained in 2004 during purification of single-walled carbon-nanotubes. Since then CQDs have been used in a wide range of applications due to their low cost of preparation and favorable properties such as chemical inertness, biocompatibility, non-toxicity and solubility in aqueous medium. One of the applications of CQDs has been their use for imaging and tracking proteins inside cells, based on their intrinsic fluorescence. Further, quantum dots exhibit concentration dependent aggregation while retaining their solubility. Fluorescent carbon quantum dots (CQD) induce macromolecular crowding making them suitable for probing the structure, function and dynamics of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic peptides/ proteins under near in-cell conditions. We have prepared hydrophilic and hydrophobic quantum dots to see the crowding effect. After characterization of CQD, we tested the property of proteins with CQD and found that CQD behaves as a macromolecular crowding agent by mimicking near in-cell conditions. In our study, we have chosen a globular protein, an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) and one hydrophobic membrane peptide. We have also compared the crowding property of CQD with ficoll which is widely used commercial crowding agent. The overall study tells that the CQD acts like crowding agent and can be used for the study of macromolecular crowding effect. This makes them suitable for structural and functional studies of proteins in near in-cell conditions. Chapter 4: Ubiquitin-Graphene oxide interactions Described here is the interaction of human ubiquitin with GO using NMR spectroscopy and other techniques such as Fluorescence spectroscopy, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), UV-Visible spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential measurements and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The globular protein ubiquitin interacts with GO and undergoes a dynamic and reversible association-dissociation in a fast exchange regimen as revealed by NMR spectroscopy. The conformation of the protein is not affected and the primary interaction is seen to be electrostatic in nature due to the polar functional groups present on the protein and GO sheet surface. For the first time we have shown that the interaction between ubiquitin and GO is dynamic in nature with fast and reversible adsorption/desorption of protein from the surface of GO. This insight will help in understanding the mechanistic aspects of interaction of GO with cellular proteins and will help in designing appropriate functionalized graphene oxide for its biological application. Chapter 5: Section A: Interaction of an intrinsically disordered protein (L-HIGFBP2) with graphene oxide The interaction between intrinsically disordered linker domain of human insulin-like growth factor binding protein-2 (L-hIGFBP2) with GO was studied using NMR spectroscopy and other techniques such as isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta-potential measurements. The study revealed that the disordered protein L-hIGFBP2 interacts with GO through electrostatic interaction and undergoes a dynamic and reversible association-dissociation in a fast exchange regime. The conformation of the protein is not affected. Section B: Stability of an Intrinsically disordered protein through weak interaction with Silver nanoparticles Using NMR spectroscopy and other techniques we probed the mechanism of L-hIGFBP2–AgNP interactions which render the IDP stable. The study reveals a mechanism which involves a relatively fast and reversible association–dissociation of L-hIGFBP2 (dynamic exchange) from the surface of AgNP. The AgNP–L-hIGFBP2 complex remains stable for more than a month. The techniques employed in addition to NMR include UV-Visible spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential measurements and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to probe the protein-AgNP interaction here in this section.
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