Effects of the dielectric properties of the ceramic-solvent interface on the binding of proteins to oxide ceramics: A non-local electrostatic approach

Alexander I. Rubinstein, Renat F. Sabirianov, Fereydoon Namavar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The rapid development of nanoscience and nanotechnology has raised many fundamental questions that significantly impede progress in these fields. In particular, understanding the physicochemical processes at the interface in aqueous solvents requires the development and application of efficient and accurate methods. In the present work we evaluate the electrostatic contribution to the energy of model protein-ceramic complex formation in an aqueous solvent. We apply a non-local (NL) electrostatic approach that accounts for the effects of the short-range structure of the solvent on the electrostatic interactions of the interfacial systems. In this approach the aqueous solvent is considered as a non-ionic liquid, with the rigid and strongly correlated dipoles of the water molecules. We have found that an ordered interfacial aqueous solvent layer at the protein- and ceramic-solvent interfaces reduces the charging energy of both the ceramic and the protein in the solvent, and significantly increases the electrostatic contribution to their association into a complex. This contribution in the presented NL approach was found to be significantly shifted with respect to the classical model at any dielectric constant value of the ceramics. This implies a significant increase of the adsorption energy in the protein-ceramic complex formation for any ceramic material. We show that for several biocompatible ceramics (for example HfO2, ZrO2, and Ta2O5) the above effect predicts electrostatically induced protein-ceramic complex formation. However, in the framework of the classical continuum electrostatic model (the aqueous solvent as a uniform dielectric medium with a high dielectric constant ∼80) the above ceramics cannot be considered as suitable for electrostatically induced complex formation. Our results also show that the protein-ceramic electrostatic interactions can be strong enough to compensate for the unfavorable desolvation effect in the process of protein-ceramic complex formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number415703
Issue number41
StatePublished - Sep 6 2016


  • ceramic nanoparticles and implants
  • interfacial water
  • non-local electrostatics
  • protein adsorption
  • solvent permittivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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