Peptides or proteins near surfaces exhibit different structural properties from those present in a homogeneous solution, and these differences give rise to varied biological activity. Therefore, understanding the detailed molecular structure of these molecules tethered to a surface is important for interpreting the performance of the various microarrays based on the activities of the immobilized peptides or proteins. We performed molecular dynamics simulations of a pentapeptide, RHSVV, an epitope of the tumor suppressor protein p53, tethered via a spacer on a functionalized silica surface and free in solution, to study their structural and conformational differences. These calculations allowed analyses of the peptide-surface interactions, the sequence orientations, and the translational motions of the peptide on the surface to be performed. Conformational similarities are found among dominant structures of the tethered and free peptide. In the peptide microarray simulations, the peptide fluctuates between a parallel and tilted orientation driven in part by the hydrophobic interactions between the nonpolar peptide residues and the methyl-terminated silica surface. The perpendicular movement of the peptide relative to the surface is also restricted due to the hydrophobic nature of the microarray surface. With regard to structures available for recognition and binding, we find that similar conformations to those found in solution are available to the peptide tethered to the surface, but with a shifted equilibrium constant. Comparisons with experimental results show important implications of this for peptide microarray design and assays.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry