Charith A Hettiarachchi

Massey University, Palmerston North City, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

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Publications (2)9.78 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Controlling the self-assembly of individual supramolecular entities, such as amyloid fibrils, into hierarchical architectures enables the 'bottom-up' fabrication of useful bionanomaterials. Here, we present the hierarchical assembly of β-lactoglobulin nanofibrils into the form of 'nanotapes' in the presence of a specific pectin with a high degree of methylesterification. The nanotapes produced were highly ordered, and had an average width of 180 nm at pH 3. Increasing the ionic strength or the pH of the medium led to the disassembly of nanotapes, indicating that electrostatic interactions stabilised the nanotape architecture. Small-angle X-ray scattering experiments conducted on the nanotapes showed that adequate space is available between adjacent nanofibrils to accommodate pectin molecules. To locate the interaction sites on the pectin molecule, it was subjected to endopolygalacturonase digestion, and the resulting products were analysed using capillary electrophoresis and size-exclusion chromatography for their charge and molecular weight, respectively. Results suggested that the functional pectin molecules carry short (<10 residues) enzyme-susceptible blocks of negatively charged, non-methylesterified galacturonic acid residues in the middle of their homogalacturonan backbones (and possibly near their ends), that specifically bind to sites on the nanofibrils. Blocking the interaction sites on the nanofibril surface using small oligomers of non-methylesterified galacturonic acid residues similar in size to the interaction sites of the pectin molecule decreased the nanotape formation, indicating that site-specific electrostatic interactions are vital for the cross-linking of nanofibrils. We propose a structural model for the pectin-cross-linked β-lactoglobulin nanotapes, the elements of which will inform the future design of bionanomaterials.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Soft Matter
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    Charith A Hettiarachchi · Laurence D Melton · Juliet A Gerrard · Simon M Loveday
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    ABSTRACT: A novel procedure involving microwave heating (MH) at 80 °C can be used to induce self-assembly of β-lactoglobulin (β-lg) into amyloid-like nanofibrils at low pH. We examined the self-assembly induced by MH, and evaluated structural and compositional differences between MH fibrils and those formed by conventional heating (CH). MH significantly accelerated the self-assembly of β-lg, resulting in fully developed fibrils in ≤2 h. However, longer MH caused irreversible disintegration of fibrils. An increase in the fibril yield was observed during the storage of the 2 h MH sample, which gave a yield similar to that of 16 h CH sample. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and circular dichroism (CD) spectra suggested that the fibrils formed by the two methods do not show significant differences in their secondary structure components. However, they exhibited differences in surface hydrophobicity, and mass spectrometry showed that the MH fibrils contained larger peptides than CH fibrils, including intact β-lg monomers, providing evidence for a different composition between the MH and CH fibrils, in spite of no observed differences in their morphology. We suggest MH initially accelerates the self-assembly of β-lg due to its nonthermal effects on unfolding, nucleation, and subsequent stacking of β-sheets, rather than promoting partial hydrolysis. Thus, MH fibrils are composed of larger peptides, and the observed higher surface hydrophobicity for the MH fibrils was attributed to the parts of the larger peptides extending out of the core structure of the fibrils.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Biomacromolecules