Complex protein patterns formation via salt-induced self-assembly and droplet evaporation
Chemistry Department, St. John’s University, 11439, New York, Queens, USA
2 Biology Department, St. John’s University, 11439, New York, Queens, USA
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Accepted: 23 July 2010
Published online: 19 September 2010
Complex and elegant protein patterns in rosette, scallop, Chinese arrow and dendrite shapes at macroscopic length scales were prepared using salt-induced molecular self-assembly and droplet evaporation methods. The direct visual observation method using fluorescence microscopy was adopted to characterize the formation of these protein patterns in situ. Further studies from an optical interferometric profiler have shown that both rosette and scalloped protein patterns are hierarchical structures of concentric rings consisting of many prism-like columnar stacks, with each of the stack having thousands of protein molecules. Systematic experimental studies were performed to investigate the influence of salt concentration, protein concentration and evaporation rate on the morphologies of protein patterns. Upon the analysis of the representative fluorescent microscope images some theoretical explanations, based on Deegan’s theory on the “coffee ring” effect and the dynamic self-assembly mechanism, were proposed to illustrate the dynamics for the formation of different protein patterns. Two different evaporation modes have been found: edge-enhanced evaporation for low salt concentration solutions, i.e., the higher evaporation rate exists at the edge of the droplet; center-enhanced evaporation for high salt concentration solutions, in which faster evaporation occurs at the droplet center consisting of a lot of crystallized salts.
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2010