Fibronectin binding to the Treponema pallidum adhesin protein fragment rtp0483 on functionalized self-assembled monolayers

Matthew T. Dickerson, Morgan B. Abney, Caroline E. Cameron, Marc Knecht, Leonidas G. Bachas, Kimberly W. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Past work has shown that Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis, binds host fibronectin (FN). FN and other host proteins are believed to bind to rare outer membrane proteins (OMPs) of T. pallidum, and it is postulated that this interaction may facilitate cell attachment and mask antigenic targets on the surface. This research seeks to prepare a surface capable of mimicking the FN binding ability of T. pallidum in order to investigate the impact of FN binding with adsorbed Tp0483 on the host response to the surface. By understanding this interaction, it may be possible to develop more effective treatments for infection and possibly mimic the stealth properties of the bacteria. Functionalized self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on gold were used to investigate rTp0483 and FN adsorption. Using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), rTp0483 adsorption and subsequent FN adsorption onto rTp0483 were determined to be higher on negatively charged carboxylate-terminated self-assembled monolayers (-COO- SAMs) compared to the other surfaces analyzed. Kinetic analysis of rTp0483 adsorption using surface plasmon resonance (SPR) supported this finding. Kinetic analysis of FN adsorption using SPR revealed a multistep event, where the concentration of immobilized rTp0483 plays a role in FN binding. An examination of relative QCM dissipation energy compared to the shift in frequency showed a correlation between the physical properties of adsorbed rTp0483 and SAM surface chemistry. In addition, AFM images of rTp0483 on selected SAMs illustrated a preference of rTp0483 to bind as aggregates. Adsorption on -COO- SAMs was more uniform across the surface, which may help further explain why FN bound more strongly. rTp0483 antibody studies suggested the involvement of amino acids 274-289 and 316-333 in binding between rTp0483 to FN, while a peptide blocking study only showed inhibition of binding with amino acids 316-333. Finally, surface adsorbed rTp0483 with FN bound significantly less anti-RGD and gelatin compared to FN adsorbed directly to -COO- SAMs, indicating that one or both binding regions may play a role in binding between rTp0483 and FN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-195
Number of pages12
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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