Student research project (Bachelor thesis or internship)
Incorporation of Green Fluorescent Protein into polyelectrolyte complexes.
Polluted drinking water is a timeless, global problem. Water purification is typically done via membranes, separating undesired elements from the drinking water. However, the membrane themselves are produced using (environmentally) harmful chemicals. For this reason a new technique to produce membranes using polyelectrolytes is being investigated. Polyelectrolytes are polymers with charged monomeric units. Mixing oppositely charged polyelectrolytes results in interaction and the formation of (solid) polyelectrolyte complexes.
Chemically, biomolecules such as proteins or DNA have properties similar to polyelectrolytes. These properties allows us to incorporate these biomolecules into the polyelectrolyte complexes, with the hope of eventually producing a polyelectrolyte membrane containing active biomolecules.
In the research for this bachelor thesis project we would like to investigate the incorporation of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) into polycationic poly(allylamine) (PAH) and polyanionic poly(styrenesulfonic acid) (PSS) complexes. We have incorporated other proteins into complexes made by other polyelectrolytes and believe there is an optimal PAH:PSS ratio in which GFP is maximally incorporated. We would like to find out what this ratio is. Secondary research questions are whether the activity of GFP is altered (permanently or temporarily) after incorporation and what factors (e.g. temperature, salt, pH) influence the stability of the GFP incorporation.
Project to-do list:
- Investigate the optimal GFP incorporation ratio in polyelectrolyte complexes as a function of PAH:PSS ratio.
- Look at the effect of temperature, salt concentration and pH on the incorporation of GFP.
- Observe if GFP is still active (active = fluorescent) in the complex.
Department: Nanobiophysics (NBP)