Functionalisation of inorganic material surfaces with Staphylococcus protein A: a molecular dynamics study

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Staphylococcus protein A (SpA) is found in the cell wall of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Its ability to bind to the constant Fc regions of antibodies means it is useful for antibody extraction, and further integration with inorganic materials can lead to the development of diagnostics and therapeutics. We have investigated the adsorption of SpA on inorganic surface models such as experimentally relevant negatively charged silica, as well as positively charged and neutral surfaces, by use of fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. We have found that SpA, which is itself negatively charged at pH7, is able to adsorb on all our surface models. However, adsorption on charged surfaces is more specific in terms of protein orientation compared to a neutral Au (111) surface, while the protein structure is generally well maintained in all cases. The results indicate that SpA adsorption is optimal on the siloxide-rich silica surface, which is negative at pH7 since this keeps the Fc binding regions free to interact with other species in solution. Due to the dominant role of electrostatics, the results are transferable to other inorganic materials and pave the way for new diagnostic and therapeutic designs where SpA might be used to conjugate antibodies to nanoparticles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4832
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Early online date27 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2022


  • staphylococcus protein A
  • therapeutics
  • diagnostics
  • biomolecular Simulation


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