Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

Amine-terminated dendrimers as biomimetic templates for silica nanosphere formation.

PMID 15969189


In diatoms, silica synthesis occurs by use of complex posttranslationally modified peptides, termed silaffins, and highly complex biological polyamine structures. Silaffin peptides have lysine residues that are modified to long-chain polyamine moieties of N-methyl derivatives of polypropylenimine to drive silica synthesis at slightly acidic pH conditions. Using polypropylenimine (PPI) and PAMAM amine-terminated dendrimers as a biomimetic analogue of the polyamine modifications of silaffins, we have demonstrated the condensation of silica nanospheres. We have shown that the dendrimers react in an amine concentration-dependent fashion yielding silica nanospheres with a distinct size distribution reminiscent of the structures produced from both the modified and nonmodified peptides extracted from diatoms. Additionally, the templates were encapsulated by the growing nanospheres and precipitated from solution in a manner similar to that previously described for the bioactive peptides and polyamines.