Crystal-protein interactions: Controlled anisotropic changes in crystal microtexture

Amir Berman, Jonathan Hanson, Leslie Leiserowitz, Thomas F. Koetzle, Stephen Weiner, Lia Addadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

A unique set of proteins extracted from a variety of invertebrate calcitic mineralized tissues is able to selectively interact in vitro with certain crystal faces and not others. This was previously demonstrated by observing changes in morphology of crystals grown in the presence of proteins as compared to those grown in the absence of proteins. Following interaction, the proteins are overgrown by the crystal and are subsequently occluded within the crystal itself. Here we address the fundamental question of whether or not the proteins also alter the crystal texture in an anisotropic manner. For this purpose we used high-resolution synchrotron X-ray diffraction to monitor changes in coherence length and angular spread. We studied the interactions of proteins extracted from the mineralized skeletal hard parts of sea urchins and mollusks, with crystals of two calcium dicarboxylic acids, calcium fumarate and calcium malonate, as well as the polymorph of CaCO3 calcite. For the calcium dicarboxylate crystals, we did demonstrate that the coherence lengths are reduced in the directions perpendicular to the planes onto which the proteins preferentially adsorb. In contrast the calcite crystals grown in the presence of the proteins exhibited an increase in angular spread compared to the controls, but no anisotropic effect in coherence length was detected. A biologically produced calcite crystal, on the other hand, showed a preferential reduction in coherence length in the direction of the c axis. Clearly in the case of calcite, the processes controlling crystal texture in the biological environment are more sophisticated than those in vitro. The detection of a reduction in coherence length in the directions perpendicular to the planes onto which the proteins preferentially adsorbed represents one of very few direct demonstrations that an additive that is able to selectively alter crystal morphology also affects crystal texture in an anisotropically specific manner. An understanding of this phenomenon may, in the future, improve our ability to control crystal texture in synthetic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5162-5170
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry
Volume97
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes

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