Prediction of calcite morphology from computational and experimental studies of mutations of a de Novo-designed peptide

Sarah B. Schrier, Marianna K. Sayeg, Jeffrey J. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Many organisms use macromolecules, often proteins or peptides, to control the growth of inorganic crystals into complex materials. The ability to model peptide-mineral interactions accurately could allow for the design of novel peptides to produce materials with desired properties. Here, we tested a computational algorithm developed to predict the structure of peptides on mineral surfaces. Using this algorithm, we analyzed energetic and structural differences between a 16-residue peptide (bap4) designed to interact with a calcite growth plane and single- and double-point mutations of the charged residues. Currently, no experimental method is available to resolve the structures of proteins on solid surfaces, which precludes benchmarking for computational models. Therefore, to test the models, we chemically synthesized each peptide and analyzed its effects on calcite crystal growth. Whereas bap4 affected the crystal growth by producing heavily stepped corners and edges, point mutants had variable influences on morphology. Calculated residue-specific binding energies correlated with experimental observations; point mutations of residues predicted to be crucial to surface interactions produced morphologies most similar to unmodified calcite. These results suggest that peptide conformation plays a role in mineral interactions and that the computational model supplies valid energetic and structural data that can provide information about expected crystal morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11520-11527
Number of pages8
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 20 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Prediction of calcite morphology from computational and experimental studies of mutations of a de Novo-designed peptide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this