Controlling the Orientation and Viscoelasticity of Materials-Binding Peptides on Hexagonal Boron Nitride Using Fatty Acids

Nermina Brljak, Marc R. Knecht, Tiffany R. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The adsorption of materials-binding peptides to technologically relevant 2D nanosheets of h-BN could be transformative for both property modulation and materials applications. To enhance binding, integration of non-natural functionalities into the biomolecule could prove to be important. However, very little is understood regarding the impact of these biomolecular structural alterations on the binding, which could influence the affinity and surface-adsorbed structures. Here, the effect of fatty acid incorporation site and carbon chain length is investigated using the BP7 peptide, previously identified with affinity for h-BN. The peptide was modified at either the N- or C-terminus with a fatty acid chain length of 6-12 carbons long. The binding affinity and bio-overlayer viscoelasticity are quantified using quartz crystal microbalance analysis. While fatty acid conjugation did not substantially affect the affinity of the resultant biomolecules, it did alter the viscoelasticity of the biomolecular overlayer on the h-BN surface based upon the carbon chain length and incorporation site. Molecular dynamics simulations demonstrate interplay between enthalpic and entropic effects in modifying the overlayer viscoelasticity. The simulations predict that C-terminal conjugation promotes the enhancement of upright adsorbed states, compared with the N-terminal case, with this effect most pronounced for the 10-carbon chain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10621-10628
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 23 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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