Modeling the binding of peptides on carbon nanotubes and their use as protein and DNA carriers

  • Vanesa Sanz
  • Helen M. Coley
  • S. Ravi P. Silva
  • Johnjoe McFadden
Research Paper


An in-depth study of a novel functionalization of carbon nanotubes for their application as protein and DNA carriers is presented. First, the optimum conditions for the dispersion of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with amphiphilic polypeptides were obtained, and the SWCNT–polypeptide complexes were characterized by different techniques (UV–Vis-NIR, CD, and AFM). Based on the properties of the SWCNT–polypeptide complexes, a model that characterizes the adsorption of natural proteins onto SWCNT was described for the first time. This model predicts the adsorption of natural proteins on SWCNTs based on the protein structure and composition, and therefore, allows the design of methods for the preparation of SWCNT–protein complexes. Besides, the use of cationic-designed amphiphilic polypeptides to disperse SWCNTs is applied for subsequent and efficient binding of DNA to carbon nanotubes by a bilayer approach. Therefore, in this article, we develop procedures for the use of SWCNTs as protein and DNA carriers. The systems were delivered into cells showing that the efficiency of delivery is affected by the charge of the complexes, which has important implications in the use of SWCNT as platforms for protein and DNA binding and subsequent use as delivery systems.


Carbon nanotubes Peptides DNA Biodelivery Biosensor Nanomedicine 



This study has been performed within the framework of the FP6Marie Curie Research Training Network “CARBIO” (RTN-CT-2006-035616) funded by the European Union. The authors also acknowledge funding received from the EPSRC Portfolio Partnership award.

Supplementary material

11051_2011_695_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 2002 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanesa Sanz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Helen M. Coley
    • 1
  • S. Ravi P. Silva
    • 2
  • Johnjoe McFadden
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of Surrey GuildfordSurreyUK
  2. 2.Nano-Electronics CentreAdvanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey GuildfordSurreyUK

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