Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 9, 2013
Previous Article Next Article

Protein–polyelectrolyte interactions

Author affiliations


The interactions of proteins and polyelectrolytes lead to diverse applications in separations, delivery and wound repair, and are thus of interest to scientists in e.g. (a) glycobiology, (b) tissue engineering, (c) biosensing, and (d) pharmacology. This breadth is accompanied by an assortment of contexts and models in which polyelectrolytes are seen as (a) protein cognates assisting in complex cellular roles, (b) surrogates for the extracellular matrix, mimicking its hydration, mechanical and sequestering properties, (c) benign hosts that gently entrap, deposit and tether protein substrate specificity, and (d) selective but non-specific agents that modify protein solubility. Unsurprisingly, this literature is somewhat segregated by objectives and paradigms. We hope this review, which emphasizes publications over the last 8 years, represents and also counterbalances that divergence. An ongoing theme is the role of electrostatics, and we show how this leads to the variety of physical forms taken by protein–polyelectrolyte complexes. We present approaches towards analysis and characterization, motivated by the goal of structure–property elucidation. Such understanding should guide in applications, our third topic. We present recent developments in modeling and simulations of protein–polyelectrolyte systems. We close with a prospective on future developments in this field.

Graphical abstract: Protein–polyelectrolyte interactions

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 29 Aug 2012, accepted on 10 Dec 2012 and first published on 25 Jan 2013

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM27002A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2013,9, 2553-2583
  •   Request permissions

    Protein–polyelectrolyte interactions

    A. B. Kayitmazer, D. Seeman, B. B. Minsky, P. L. Dubin and Y. Xu, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 2553
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM27002A

Search articles by author