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KnowVolution of the Polymer-Binding Peptide LCI for Improved Polypropylene Binding

Kristin Rübsam, Mehdi D Davari, Felix Jakob, Ulrich Schwaneberg
Polymers 2018 April 10, 10 (4)
The functionalization of polymer surfaces by polymer-binding peptides offers tremendous opportunities for directed immobilization of enzymes, bioactive peptides, and antigens. The application of polymer-binding peptides as adhesion promoters requires reliable and stable binding under process conditions. Molecular modes of interactions between material surfaces, peptides, and solvent are often not understood to an extent that enables (semi-) rational design of polymer-binding peptides, hindering the full exploitation of their potential. Knowledge-gaining directed evolution (KnowVolution) is an efficient protein engineering strategy that facilitates tailoring protein properties to application demands through a combination of directed evolution and computational guided protein design. A single round of KnowVolution was performed to gain molecular insights into liquid chromatography peak I peptide, 47 aa (LCI)-binding to polypropylene (PP) in the presence of the competing surfactant Triton X-100. KnowVolution yielded a total of 8 key positions (D19, S27, Y29, D31, G35, I40, E42, and D45), which govern PP-binding in the presence of Triton X-100. The recombination of two of the identified amino acid substitutions (Y29R and G35R; variant KR-2) yielded a 5.4 ± 0.5-fold stronger PP-binding peptide compared to LCI WT in the presence of Triton X-100 (1 mM). The LCI variant KR-2 shows a maximum binding capacity of 8.8 ± 0.1 pmol/cm² on PP in the presence of Triton X-100 (up to 1 mM). The KnowVolution approach enables the development of polymer-binding peptides, which efficiently coat and functionalize PP surfaces and withstand surfactant concentrations that are commonly used, such as in household detergents.


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