Physical Chemistry

Lund University

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Studies of osteopontin and casein self-assembly in the context of biomineralisation: applications in food, health and biomaterials

Many biofluids are super saturated with respect to hydroxyapatite (HA) by forming complexes between phosphopolypeptides/phosphoproteins and amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP). The purpose is to maintain the integrity of bones and teeth without mineralising the surrounding soft tissues. Our long-term goal is to provide a unified model of the structure and mechanism of the formation of the complex between ACP and different phosphorylated proteins/peptides, based on the hypothesis that the process is controlled by protein self-assembly. The structures of composite materials comprising phosphopolypeptides and calcium phosphate with very different neutron scattering length densities are well suited to being studied by neutron scattering and diffraction methods. We will use NMR techniques to study the formation of these composites as well as interfacial techniques to study their interfacial behavior of relevance for biomineralization. In combination with recombinant phosphoprotein expression and isotope labelling, novel nano-, micro- and macro-structures will be fabricated and their size and medium resolution substructures determined.

People: Susana Teixeira, Sam Lenton and Giuseppe Zaccai (ILL), Carl Holt (University of Glasgow), Tommy Nylander, Daniel Topgaard

Contact person: Tommy Nylander