Complexation and synergistic boundary lubrication of porcine gastric mucin and branched poly(ethyleneimine) in neutral aqueous solution

Navinkumar J. Patil, Rishikesan Sankaranarayanan, Nikolaos Nikogeorgos, Rita Guzzi, Seunghwan Lee, Bruno Zappone

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Lubrication of soft polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer interfaces was studied in aqueous mixtures ofporcine gastric mucin (PGM) and branched polyethyleneimine (b-PEI) at neutral pH and various ionicstrengths (0.1–1.0 M). While neither PGM nor b-PEI improved lubrication compared to polymer-freebuffer solution, their mixtures produced a synergistic lubricating effect by reducing friction coefficientsby nearly two orders of magnitude, especially at slow sliding speed in the boundary lubrication regime.An array of spectroscopic studies revealed that small cationic b-PEI molecules were able to stronglybind and penetrate into large anionic PGM molecules, producing an overall contraction of the randomlycoiled PGM conformation. The interaction also affected the structure of the folded PGM proteinterminals, decreased the surface potential and increased light absorbance in PGM:b-PEI mixtures. Addingan electrolyte (NaCl) weakened the aggregation between PGM and b-PEI, and degraded the lubricationsynergy, indicating that electrostatic interactions drive PGM:b-PEI complexation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoft Matter
Volume13
Pages (from-to)590-599
Number of pages10
ISSN1744-683x
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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