On the Relationship between Peptide Adsorption Resistance and Surface Contact Angle: A Combined Experimental and Simulation Single-Molecule Study
The force-induced desorption of single peptide chains from mixed OH/CH3-terminated self-assembled monolayers is studied in closely matched molecular dynamics simulations and atomic force microscopy experiments with the goal to gain microscopic understanding of the transition between peptide adsorption and adsorption resistance as the surface contact angle is varied. In both simulations and experiments, the surfaces become adsorption resistant against hydrophilic as well as hydrophobic peptides when their contact angle decreases below ? ≈ 50°?60°, thus confirming the so-called Berg limit established in the context of protein and cell adsorption. Entropy/enthalpy decomposition of the simulation results reveals that the key discriminator between the adsorption of different residues on a hydrophobic monolayer is of entropic nature and thus is suggested to be linked to the hydrophobic effect. By pushing a polyalanine peptide onto a polar surface, simulations reveal that the peptide adsorption resistance is caused by the strongly bound water hydration layer and characterized by the simultaneous gain of both total entropy in the system and total number of hydrogen bonds between water, peptide, and surface. This mechanistic insight into peptide adsorption resistance might help to refine design principles for anti-fouling surfaces.