PloS one

Adsorption of cationic peptides to solid surfaces of glass and plastic.

PMID 25932639


Cationic membrane-active peptides have been studied for years in the hope of developing them into novel types of therapeutics. In this article, we investigate an effect that might have significant experimental implications for investigators who wish to study these peptides, namely, that the peptides adsorb to solid surfaces of glass and plastic. Specifically, we use analytical HPLC to systematically quantify the adsorption of the three cationic membrane-active peptides mastoparan X, melittin, and magainin 2 to the walls of commonly used glass and plastic sample containers. Our results show that, at typical experimental peptide concentrations, 90% or more of the peptides might be lost from solution due to rapid adsorption to the walls of the sample containers. Thus, our results emphasize that investigators should always keep these adsorption effects in mind when designing and interpreting experiments on cationic membrane-active peptides. We conclude the article by discussing different strategies for reducing the experimental impact of these adsorption effects.