The rich pool of protein conformations combined with the dimensions and properties of carbon nanotubes create new possibilities in functional materials and nanomedicine. Here, the intrinsically disordered protein α-synuclein is explored as a dispersant of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in water. We use a range of spectroscopic methods to quantify the amount of dispersed SWNT and to elucidate the binding mode of α-synuclein to SWNT. The dispersion ability of α-synuclein is good even with mild sonication and the obtained dispersion is very stable over time. The whole polypeptide chain is involved in the interaction accompanied by a fraction of the chain changing into a helical structure upon binding. Similar to other dispersants, we observe that only a small fraction (15–20%) of α-synuclein is adsorbed on the SWNT surface with an average residence time below 10 ms.
- Colloidal stability
- Noncovalent functionalization