Peptides control crystal growth with switches, throttles and brakes. From Physorg.com.
(PhysOrg.com) — By producing some of the highest resolution images of peptides attaching to mineral surfaces, scientists have a deeper understanding how biomolecules manipulate the growth crystals.
The research, which appears in the Nov. 23 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explores how peptides interact with mineral surfaces by accelerating, switching and inhibiting their growth.
The direct application of the research is to understand the regulatory capabilities of biomolecules on the growth of minerals (e.g. teeth, kidney stones) in the body. But by understanding the mechanisms at the atomic scale, we might at some point be able to design proteins that allow us to grow surfaces with designed patterns, or even atomically precise parts.