Poster Presentation Australian Society for Medical Research Annual Scientific Meeting 2016

Synthetic Analogues of Microbial Nanowires (#126)

Rhiannon Creasey 1 , Armin Solemanifar 1 , Tuan Nguyen 1 , Bernardino Virdis 1 , Stefano Freguia 1 , Bronwyn Laycock 1
  1. University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia

Specific bacteria possess natural conductive tails constructed from proteins, termed microbial nanowires (MNWs). The nature of electrical signals in MNWs is under debate; is it due to stacked aromatic groups in the peptides, attached/intrinsic redox groups, or a combination thereof? We are currently designing and assembling peptide-based fibrils inspired by these MNWs. Our goal is to create non-toxic conducting peptide fibrils that can be used in water or physiological environments for bioelectronics applications, and conduct tests in parallel of the mechanisms of conductivity in MNWs. Our project aims to assemble and test bioinspired alpha-helical peptide sequences in order to ascertain the mechanisms of long-range conductivity in MNWs, followed by integration of such structures into a bioelectronic proof of concept sensing device. To date, we have successfully designed peptide sequences capable of forming fibrillar gels at physiological pH, with preliminary measurements indicating that these assemblies are capable of electrical conductivity.