Gold Binding Proteins
The biological control of inorganic crystal formation, morphology and assembly is of interest to biologists and biotechnologists studying hard tissue growth and regeneration, as well as to materials scientists using biomimetic approaches for control of inorganic material fabrication and assembly. A molecular-level understanding of the natural mechanisms involved in these processes can be derived from the use of metal surfaces to study surface recognition by proteins together with combinatorial genetics techniques for selection of suitable peptides.
In a recent study, the structure of a genetically engineered gold binding protein has been determined computationally, and the ability of the protein to recognize gold crystal surfaces has been explained. Molecular dynamics simulations were carried out with the program NAMD using the solvated protein at the gold surface to assess the dynamics of the binding process and the effects of surface topography on the specificity of protein binding.