DOI: 10.3390/ijms241612808 ISSN:

Adsorption of Ferritin at Nanofaceted Al2O3 Surfaces

Bhanu K. Pothineni, Sabrina Kollmann, Xinyang Li, Guido Grundmeier, Denise J. Erb, Adrian Keller
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

The influence of nanoscale surface topography on protein adsorption is highly important for numerous applications in medicine and technology. Herein, ferritin adsorption at flat and nanofaceted, single-crystalline Al2O3 surfaces is investigated using atomic force microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The nanofaceted surfaces are generated by the thermal annealing of Al2O3 wafers at temperatures above 1000 °C, which leads to the formation of faceted saw-tooth-like surface topographies with periodicities of about 160 nm and amplitudes of about 15 nm. Ferritin adsorption at these nanofaceted surfaces is notably suppressed compared to the flat surface at a concentration of 10 mg/mL, which is attributed to lower adsorption affinities of the newly formed facets. Consequently, adsorption is restricted mostly to the pattern grooves, where the proteins can maximize their contact area with the surface. However, this effect depends on the protein concentration, with an inverse trend being observed at 30 mg/mL. Furthermore, different ferritin adsorption behavior is observed at topographically similar nanofacet patterns fabricated at different annealing temperatures and attributed to different step and kink densities. These results demonstrate that while protein adsorption at solid surfaces can be notably affected by nanofacet patterns, fine-tuning protein adsorption in this way requires the precise control of facet properties.

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