Research Article

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2016, 9(2): 273–281

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https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-015-0907-7

Nano-confinement of biomolecules: Hydrophilic confinement promotes structural order and enhances mobility of water molecules

Bachir Aoun1 and Daniela Russo2,3 (*)

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1 Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, IL 60439, USA
2 CNR-IOM, c/o Institut Laue-Langevin, 38400 Grenoble, France
3 Institut Lumière Matière, Université de Lyon, 69622 Lyon, France

Keywords: nano-confinement, protein folding, hydration water, carbon nanotube, drug delivery
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Molecular dynamics simulations have been used to investigate the confinement packing characteristics of small hydrophilic (N-acetyl-glycine-methylamide, Nagma) and hydrophobic (N-acetyl-leucine-methylamide, Nalma) biomolecules in large diameter single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). We find that hydrophilic biomolecules easily fill the nanotube and self organize into a geometrical configuration which reminds the water structural organization under SWCNT confinement. The packing of hydrophilic biomolecules inside the cylinder confines all water molecules in its core, which enhances their mobility. Conversely, hydrophobic biomolecules accommodate into the nanotubes with a trend for homogeneous filling, which generate unstable small pockets of water and drive toward a state of dehydration. These results shed light on key parameters important for the encapsulation of biomolecules with direct relevance for long-term storage and prevention of degradation.
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Nano-confinement of biomolecules: Hydrophilic confinement promotes structural order and enhances mobility of water molecules. Nano Res. 2016, 9(2): 273–281 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12274-015-0907-7

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