Fluorescent labels are often attached to proteins in order to experimentally study their binding and adsorption to flat surfaces. Ideally, these labels would not change the binding or adsorption features of proteins, so that experimentalists could interpret the data from the labelled proteins as if they came from the unlabelled ones. Usually, it is difficult to compare these two protein species in a laboratory. In an article in Nano Letters by Julia Romanowska, Daria Kokh and Rebecca Wade, computations were used to evaluate the influence of label attachment on an adsorption process of the protein hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL). Although the modified protein, HEWL-FITC, has a relatively small fluorescent label attached, it was found that this changes the protein’s surface charge distribution, which then disrupts the adsorption onto a charged surface. Therefore, it is important when interpreting the results of experiments with labelled proteins, that both protein species are accounted for. This can be done quite easily with relatively straightforward computational methods, as shown in the article.
When the Label Matters: Adsorption of Labeled and Unlabeled Proteins on Charged Surfaces
Julia Romanowska, Daria B. Kokh, and Rebecca C. Wade
Nano Letters Article
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.