Use of a phage-display method to identify peptides that bind to a tin oxide nanosheets

Hikaru Nakazawa, Yasuko Seta, Tatsuya Hirose, Yoshitake Masuda, Mitsuo Umetsu

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Nanosheets of SnO2 which an n-type semiconductor with a rutile-type crystalline structure are predominantly used as gas sensors. SnO2 nanosheets have a tetragonal crystal structure where growth along the c-axis is suppressed to form a sheet. The major exposed facets of SnO2 nanosheets have {110}, {101} and {211} crystal planes along the a-axis, with the reduced {110} surface having a particularly high surface energy. Identifying peptides that bind to specific crystal planes by using peptide phage-display approach will increase the potential applications of metal oxide nanomaterials by fusing proteins with desirable active sites to peptides that adsorb at high density on the major exposed crystal plane of nanosheets. It may be possible to construct highly sensitive biosensors. Objectives: The main objective of the present study is to identify peptides that adsorb preferentially to a SnO2 nanosheet by using peptide-phage display approach. Methods: Four milligrams of SnO2 nanosheet were mixed with 1011 plaque-forming units of Ph.D.-12 Phage Display Peptide Library. Phage-bound nanosheet particles were washed 10 times with 1 mL of phosphatebuffered saline containing 0.5% Tween 20. Phages bound to the nanosheet were eluted with three different buffers: (1) high-salt buffer containing 2 M NaCl (pH 7.5); (2) acidic buffer containing 200 mM Gly-HCl (pH 2.2); and (3) high-phosphate-ion buffer containing 500 mM NaH2PO4 (pH 7.5). The eluted phages were subjected to four or five rounds of biopanning. At each round, individual plaques were picked from the plates, and the amino acid sequences of the peptides were identified by DNA sequencing. The identified SnO2-binding peptides labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate were synthesized. Adsorption isotherms were constructed at peptide concentrations ranging from 0.25 to 2.0 μM with 4mg of nanomaterials. Results: We were determined the sequences of 11 clones with the high-salt buffer, 7 with the high-phosphateion buffers, and 6 with the acidic buffer and three peptides (SnO2BPn1, 2, and 3), two peptides (SnO2BPa1 and SnO2BPa2), and one peptide (SnO2BPp1) concentrated under each condition were selected respectively. All six selected peptides contained at least one histidine residue. In addition, the His-Asn-Leu (HNL) sequence was found in two of the peptides (SnO2BPa1 and SnO2BPa2). We constructed adsorption isotherms for the six selected peptides using 4mg of nanosheets. All six peptides were well adsorbed on the SnO2 nanosheet. The adsorption isotherms for SnO2 material with different structure revealed that SnO2BPn1, -2, and -3, and SnO2BPp1, preferentially bound to the spherical SnO2 nanoparticles. SnO2BPa2 preferentially bound to the SnO2 nanosheet, and SnO2BPa1 bound equally to both materials. This result suggested that SnO2BPa2 bound to a specific crystal plane of the nanosheet. The major exposed facet of the SnO2 crystal was the {110} plane, suggesting that SnO2BPa2 likely adsorbed on the {110} plane. SnO2BPn1, SnO2BPn2, SnO2BPn3, SnO2BPa1, and SnO2BPp1 also bound to the other metal oxides, in particular to ZrO2. At pH 7.5, peptides with a negative charge at pH 7.5 (pI 8.5-12) can bind to ZrO2 and SnO2, if the binding is mediated by electrostatic interactions. Thus, it is likely that these five peptides bind to metal oxides via electrostatic interactions. In contrast, SnO2BPa2 had a structurally specific affinity, binding more with the SnO2 nanosheet than with the spherical SnO2 nanoparticles or other metal oxides. Conclusion: We identified six peptides that adsorbed on a SnO2 nanosheet. Five of the selected peptides bound preferentially to spherical SnO2 nanoparticles rather than to the SnO2 nanosheet. Whereas, SnO2BPa2 exhibited specifically binding to the SnO2 nanosheet. Our results suggest that crystal plane recognition and material recognition by these peptides are mediated via different, independent mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalProtein and Peptide Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1


  • Crystal plane
  • Inorganic material
  • Nanosheet
  • Peptide
  • Phage display
  • Tin oxide


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