skip to main content

Title: Use of a solid‐state nanopore for profiling the transferrin receptor protein and distinguishing between transferrin receptor and its ligand protein

A nanopore device is capable of providing single‐molecule level information of an analyte as they translocate through the sensing aperture—a nanometer‐sized through‐hole—under the influence of an applied electric field. In this study, a silicon nitride (SixNy)‐based nanopore was used to characterize the human serum transferrin receptor protein (TfR) under various applied voltages. The presence of dimeric forms of TfR was found to decrease exponentially as the applied electric field increased. Further analysis of monomeric TfR also revealed that its unfolding behaviors were positively dependent on the applied voltage. Furthermore, a comparison between the data of monomeric TfR and its ligand protein, human serum transferrin (hSTf), showed that these two protein populations, despite their nearly identical molecular weights, could be distinguished from each other by means of a solid‐state nanopore (SSN). Lastly, the excluded volumes of TfR were experimentally determined at each voltage and were found to be within error of their theoretical values. The results herein demonstrate the successful application of an SSN for accurately classifying monomeric and dimeric molecules while the two populations coexist in a heterogeneous mixture.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 349-359
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    In this work, we present a step‐by‐step workflow for the fabrication of 2D hexagonal boron nitride (h‐BN) nanopores which are then used to sense holo‐human serum transferrin (hSTf) protein at pH ∼8 under applied voltages ranging from +100 mV to +800 mV. 2D nanopores are often used for DNA, however, there is a great void in the literature for single‐molecule protein sensing and this, to the best of our knowledge, is the first time where h‐BN—a material with large band‐gap, low dielectric constant, reduced parasitic capacitance and minimal charge transfer induced noise—is used for protein profiling. The corresponding ΔG(change in pore conductance due to analyte translocation) profiles showed a bimodal Gaussian distribution where the lower and higher ΔGdistributions were attributed to (pseudo‐) folded and unfolded conformations respectively. With increasing voltage, the voltage induced unfolding increased (evident by decrease in ΔG) and plateaued after ∼400 mV of applied voltage. From the ΔGversus voltage profile corresponding to the pseudo‐folded state, we calculated the molecular radius of hSTf, and was found to be ∼3.1 nm which is in close concordance with the literature reported value of ∼3.25 nm.

    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Nanopore probing of molecular level transport of proteins is strongly influenced by electrolyte type, concentration, and solution pH. As a result, electrolyte chemistry and applied voltage are critical for protein transport and impact, for example, capture rate ( C R ), transport mechanism ( i.e. , electrophoresis, electroosmosis or diffusion), and 3D conformation ( e.g. , chaotropic vs. kosmotropic effects). In this study, we explored these using 0.5–4 M LiCl and KCl electrolytes with holo-human serum transferrin (hSTf) protein as the model protein in both low (±50 mV) and high (±400 mV) electric field regimes. Unlike in KCl, where events were purely electrophoretic, the transport in LiCl transitioned from electrophoretic to electroosmotic with decreasing salt concentration while intermediate concentrations ( i.e. , 2 M and 2.5 M) were influenced by diffusion. Segregating diffusion-limited capture rate ( R diff ) into electrophoretic ( R diff,EP ) and electroosmotic ( R diff,EO ) components provided an approach to calculate the zeta-potential of hSTf ( ζ hSTf ) with the aid of C R and zeta potential of the nanopore surface ( ζ pore ) with ( ζ pore – ζ hSTf ) governing the transport mechanism. Scrutinization of the conventional excluded volume model revealed its shortcomings in capturing surface contributions and a new model was then developed to fit the translocation characteristics of proteins. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Electrolyte chemistry plays an important role in the transport properties of analytes through nanopores. Here, we report the translocation properties of the protein human serum transferrin (hSTf) in asymmetric LiCl salt concentrations with either positive (Ctrans/Ccis< 1) or negative chemical gradients (Ctrans/Ccis> 1). Thecisside concentration was fixed at 4 M for positive chemical gradients and at 0.5 M LiCl for negative chemical gradients, while thetransside concentration varied between 0.5 to 4 M which resulted in six different configurations, respectively, for both positive and negative gradient types. For positive chemical gradient conditions, translocations were observed in all six configurations for at least one voltage polarity whereas with negative gradient conditions, dead concentrations where no events at either polarity were observed. The flux of Li+and Clions and their resultant cation or anion enrichment zones, as well as the interplay of electrophoretic and electroosmotic transport directions, would determine whether hSTf can traverse across the pore.

    more » « less
  4. Summary

    Flagellated spores play important roles in the infection of plants and animals by many eukaryotic microbes. The oomycetePhytophthora infestans,which causes potato blight, expresses two phosphagen kinases (PKs). These enzymes store energy in taurocyamine, and are hypothesized to resolve spatial and temporal imbalances between rates of ATP creation and use in zoospores. A dimeric PK is found at low levels in vegetative mycelia, but high levels in ungerminated sporangia and zoospores. In contrast, a monomeric PK protein is at similar levels in all tissues, although is transcribed primarily in mycelia. Subcellular localization studies indicate that the monomeric PK is mitochondrial. In contrast, the dimeric PK is cytoplasmic in mycelia and sporangia but is retargeted to flagellar axonemes during zoosporogenesis. This supports a model in which PKs shuttle energy from mitochondria to and through flagella. Metabolite analysis indicates that deployment of the flagellar PK is coordinated with a large increase in taurocyamine, synthesized by sporulation‐induced enzymes that were lost during the evolution of zoospore‐lacking oomycetes. Thus, PK function is enabled by coordination of the transcriptional, metabolic and protein targeting machinery during the life cycle. Since plants lack PKs, the enzymes may be useful targets for inhibitors of oomycete plant pathogens.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Protein nanoparticles are a promising approach for nanotherapeutics, as proteins combine versatile chemical and biological function with controlled biodegradability. In this work, the development of an adaptable synthesis method is presented for synthetic protein nanoparticles (SPNPs) based on reactive electrojetting. In contrast to past work with electrohydrodynamic cojetting using inert polymers, the jetting solutions are comprised of proteins and chemically activated macromers, designed to react with each other during the processing step, to form insoluble nanogel particles. SPNPs made from a variety of different proteins, such as transferrin, insulin, or hemoglobin, are stable and uniform under physiological conditions and maintain monodisperse sizes of around 200 nm. SPNPs comprised of transferrin and a disulfide containing macromer are stimuli‐responsive, and serve as markers of oxidative stress within HeLa cells. Beyond isotropic SPNPs, bicompartmental nanoparticles containing human serum albumin and transferrin in two distinct hemispheres are prepared via reactive electrojetting. This novel platform provides access to a novel class of versatile protein particles with nanoscale architectures that i) can be made from a variety of proteins and macromers, ii) have tunable biological responses, and iii) can be multicompartmental, a prerequisite for controlled release of multiple drugs.

    more » « less