Skip to Main Content

Title ImagePublic Abstract


DE-SC0024556: Identifying small circular peptides for Ln/Ln selectivity with yeast display, molecular simulation, and spectroscopy

Award Status: Active
  • Institution: Board of Regents, obo, Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) - University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
  • DUNS: 146515460
  • Most Recent Award Date: 09/14/2023
  • Number of Support Periods: 1
  • PM: Haes, Amanda
  • Current Budget Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2024
  • Current Project Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2026
  • PI: Cantu, David
  • Supplement Budget Period: N/A

Public Abstract

The rare earth elements, which include the lanthanide (Ln) ions, are vital to clean energy and defense technologies. Regardless of the overall separation technique (e.g., solvent extraction, membrane adsorption), lanthanide purification is bottlenecked in Ln/Ln separations because the Ln/Ln selectivity of known extractants is low due to the size similarity of adjacent LnIII ions. The goal of this project is to identify peptides that bind specific LnIII ions. Peptides are expressed on the surface of yeast cells and placed in contact with LnIII ions. The yeast cells with Ln-binding peptides are separated from the yeast cells whose peptides do not bind lanthanides with fluorescence-activated cell sorting. The LnIII binding affinity of the peptides identified with yeast display are investigated in solution with emission and excitation spectroscopy. The LnIII coordination structure of the peptides with the strongest LnIII binding in solution are resolved with atomic resolution with molecular dynamics simulations, computational chemistry calculations, extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy, and emission spectroscopy. We are focusing on peptides for Ln selectivity because peptides provide a large area of chemical space that can be efficiently studied, and because the solution structures of Ln-peptide complexes can be easily determined to understand the coordination chemistry. This way, a Ln/Ln selective peptide could be readily produced, ultimately leading to improved Ln separation processes.

Scroll to top