Peptide adhesion promoters (anchor peptides, APs) that universally bind compound containers or antimicrobial peptides/enzymes specifically to plant surfaces are of high interest to design novel plant health/protection agents for a resource-efficient and sustainable production in agriculture. In the PepUse project, to enable the rational design of tailor-made adhesion promoters for application requirements, two key aspects were explored: (1) detailed definition of application requirements from a user (farmer) point of view, (2) molecular understanding of the surface bound anchor peptide structure and its binding mechanism. The PepUse project successfully studied the advantages of integrating user needs and requirements at the early stages of research and development in order to inform and orchestrate the various aspects of the technology development. Therefore, we developed and applied a novel research toolkit in order to identify potential (lead) users and better characterize their needs for and requirements to make use of the tailor-made adhesion promoters. Structural characterization of peptide, surface immobilized anchor peptides, and binding mechanisms were investigated through molecular dynamics simulation, NMR spectroscopy (solid state MAS-NMR experiments), and protein engineering. The integration of molecular modeling and protein engineering provided molecular insight into structure and orientation of surface-bound APs, and enabled to develop a molecular model for AP binding to hydrophobic surfaces that mimic the plant wax layers. The PepUse applicant team aims to develop follow-up research projects on the basis of the identified application fields with agricultural industries employing the anchor peptide technology.
Dr. Mehdi D. Davari
Chair of Biotechnology
RWTH Aachen University
phone: +49 241 80 20676
PD Dr. Bernd König, Prof. Dr. Henrike Heise, Physical Biology, Heinrich Heine University
Dr. Michael Wustmans, Prof. Dr. Stefanie Bröring, Technology and Innovation Management in Agribusines, University of Bonn
01.09.2019 - 28.02.2021
PepUse is is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.