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Bio-inorganic hybrid membranes with nanoporosity control by genetically engineered viral seal rings

[Viropore-Membranes]

 

Professor Dr. Othmar Marti, University of Ulm; Institute of Experimental Physics, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89081 Ulm
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Dr. Hartmut Gliemann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT); Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG), P.O. Box 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe
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Professor Dr. Christina Wege, University of Stuttgart; Institute of Biomaterials and Biomolecular Systems, Dpt. Molecular Biology and Plant Virology, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart
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Bio-inorganic hybrid membranes with nanoporosity control by genetically engineered viral seal rings


'Bionic glue' as a major clue to novel bio/inorganic high performance filtration devices: This project exploits a unique combination of free-standing solid-state membranes (SSMs) with millions of conical pores, and ring-shaped, RNA-stabilized tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) coat protein assemblies with a central Ø 4 nm hole (perforated 'disks', 18 nm Ø and 10 nm thick) to act as robust 'pore-in-pore' fittings. They will render size and charge specificity to the composite membranes' permeability, given that both soft and hard matter partner components can be irreversibly connected, and the annular gaps between disks and SSM pores firmly sealed to avoid leakage. Biologically-inspired deposition of a silica interlayer in situ may provide the key to this challenge, employing tetraethyl- or tetramethyl-orthosilicate (TEOS or TMOS), or their hydrolyzed derivatives of low condensation degree and thus size as precursor. This 'bionic glue' formation will be directed by the outer disk rims fashioned with silicification-mediating peptides. Both biochemical and genetic modification of the inner TMV disk pore surfaces may alter their charge and diameter and thereby specific permeability. So far, accordingly prepared SSMs have been adapted to TMV-based pore fittings equipped with appropriate silicification-guiding peptides delimited recently. The partner components could be combined and structural integrity demonstrated for proof-of-concept hybrid membranes accommodating numerous nucleoprotein pore adaptors. Ongoing work improves the implantation efficiency of disks in an electrophoresis device, employing new types of disks with negatively charged RNA trailer leashes. The envisaged extensive arrays of multiple uniform biological nanopores integrated into versatile SSM backbones would be a great benefit for plenty of applications, be it molecular sorting, harvesting of active ingredients or enrichment and purification routines.