Temperature-Induced Denaturation of BSA Protein Molecules for Improved Surface Passivation Coatings

September 4, 2018

Bovine serum albumin (BSA) is the most widely used protein for surface passivation applications, although it has relatively weak, non-sticky interactions with hydrophilic surfaces such as silica-based materials. Herein, we report a simple and versatile method to increase the stickiness of BSA protein molecules adsorbing onto silica surfaces, resulting in up to a 10-fold improvement in blocking efficiency against serum biofouling. Circular dichroism spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, and nanoparticle tracking analysis showed that temperature-induced denaturation of BSA proteins in bulk solution resulted in irreversible unfolding and protein oligomerization, thereby converting weakly adhesive, protein monomers into a more adhesive, oligomeric form. The heat-treated, denatured BSA oligomers remained stable after cooling. Room-temperature quartz crystal microbalance-dissipation and localized surface plasmon resonance experiments revealed that denatured BSA oligomers adsorbed more quickly and in larger mass quantities onto silica surfaces than native BSA monomers. We also determined that the larger surface contact area of denatured BSA oligomers is an important factor contributing to their more adhesive character. Importantly, denatured BSA oligomers were a superior passivating agent to inhibit biofouling on silica surfaces and also improved Western blot application performance. Taken together, the findings demonstrate how temperature-induced denaturation of BSA protein molecules can lead to improved protein-based coatings for surface passivation applications.


Jae Hyeon Park, Joshua A. Jackman, Abdul Rahim Ferhan, Gamaliel Junren Ma, Bo Kyeong Yoon, and Nam-Joon Cho

Published in

ACS Publications


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