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Hybrid membranes with nanoporosity controlled by genetically engineered viral seal rings


Principal Applicants:

Professor Dr. Paul Ziemann, Universität Ulm; Fakultät für Naturwissenschaften, Institut für Festkörperphysik, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89069 Ulm,

AOR Dr. Alfred Plettl, University of Ulm, Institute of Solid State Physics

Professor Dr. Christina Wege, Universität Stuttgart; Biologisches Institut, Abteilung Molekularbiologie und Virologie der Pflanzen, Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart,

Dr. Hartmut Gliemann, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT); Institut für Funktionelle Grenzflächen (IFG), Postfach 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe,


Supporting Applicants:

Dr. Sabine Eiben, Universität Stuttgart; Biologisches Institut, Abteilung Molekularbiologie und Virologie der Pflanzen
Pfaffenwaldring 57, 70569 Stuttgart,



A novel preparation route is proposed to obtain bio/inorganic hybrid membranes with arrays of nanoscaled pores. The procedure allows controlling the distance between pores as well as their diameter. For that purpose, a virus template-assisted solid state membrane approach will be developed. Specifically, Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) assembly intermediates forming protein disks of precise dimensions with an inner 4 nm pore and an outer diameter of 18 nm will be used. These intermediates may be genetically tailored on both, the inner hole and the outer rim surfaces. Hence, combining functionalized inorganic porous membrane templates (MT) with TMV "pore adapter inlays" might yield membranes benefiting from both a stable inorganic backbone and nanopores with near-to-zero size deviations. The intended experimental strategy interconnects biogenic and inorganic phases by a bionic ‘glue’: peptide-mediated interaction with solid silica and subsequent protein-induced SiO2 deposition should immobilize the TMV disks in MTs and seal gaps. Primary goals are to produce layered membranes with specifically functionalized conical pores (15-30 nm) and genetically tailored trifunctional TMV protein disks, to position and pre-fix them into pores by help of intermediate chemical coupling, and to finish the assemblies by rugged biogenic mineral ridges formed between the two material phases. Quality and permeability of the hybrid membrane materials will be analyzed.