Molecular Insights into the Physical Adsorption of Amphiphilic Protein PhaF onto Copolyester Surfaces


Phasins are amphiphilic proteins located at the polymer–cytoplasm interface of bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). The immobilization of phasins on biomaterial surfaces is a promising way to enhance the hydrophilicity and supply cell-directing elements in bioinstructing processes. Optimizing the physical adsorption of phasins requires deep insights into molecular processes during polymer–protein interactions to preserve their structural conformation while optimizing surface coverage. Here, the assembly, organization, and stability of phasin PhaF from Pseudomonas putida at interfaces is disclosed. The Langmuir technique, combined with in situ microscopy and spectroscopic methods, revealed that PhaF forms stable and robust monolayers at different temperatures, with an almost flat orientation of its α-helix at the air–water interface. PhaF adsorption onto preformed monolayers of poly[(3-R-hydroxyoctanoate)-co-(3-R-hydroxyhexanoate)] (PHOHHx), yields stable mixed layers below π = ∼15.7 mN/m. Further insertion induces a molecular reorganization. PHOHHx with strong surface hydrophobicity is a more adequate substrate for PhaF adsorption than the less hydrophobic poly[(rac-lactide)-co-glycolide] (PLGA). The observed orientation of the main axis of the protein in relation to copolyester interfaces ensures the best exposure of the hydrophobic residues, providing a suitable coating strategy for polymer functionalization.
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