Surface force measurements and simulations of mussel-derived peptide adhesives on wet organic surfaces. Academic Article uri icon


  • Translating sticky biological molecules-such as mussel foot proteins (MFPs)-into synthetic, cost-effective underwater adhesives with adjustable nano- and macroscale characteristics requires an intimate understanding of the glue's molecular interactions. To help facilitate the next generation of aqueous adhesives, we performed a combination of surface forces apparatus (SFA) measurements and replica-exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations on a synthetic, easy to prepare, Dopa-containing peptide (MFP-3s peptide), which adheres to organic surfaces just as effectively as its wild-type protein analog. Experiments and simulations both show significant differences in peptide adsorption on CH3-terminated (hydrophobic) and OH-terminated (hydrophilic) self-assembled monolayers (SAMs), where adsorption is strongest on hydrophobic SAMs because of orientationally specific interactions with Dopa. Additional umbrella-sampling simulations yield free-energy profiles that quantitatively agree with SFA measurements and are used to extract the adhesive properties of individual amino acids within the context of MFP-3s peptide adhesion, revealing a delicate balance between van der Waals, hydrophobic, and electrostatic forces.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

altmetric score

  • 12

author list (cited authors)

  • Levine, Z. A., Rapp, M. V., Wei, W., Mullen, R. G., Wu, C., Zerze, G. H., ... Shea, J.

citation count

  • 66

complete list of authors

  • Levine, Zachary A||Rapp, Michael V||Wei, Wei||Mullen, Ryan Gotchy||Wu, Chun||Zerze, Gül H||Mittal, Jeetain||Waite, J Herbert||Israelachvili, Jacob N||Shea, Joan-Emma

publication date

  • April 2016