Redox Potential Tuning
We have striven to tune the redox potentials (Eº) of metal centers in a single protein to cover the entire range of biologically relevant Eº from -1 to +1 V. Redox potential is at the heart of many chemical and biological processes from electron transfer (ET) in photosynthesis and respiration to catalysis in water oxidation and N2 fixation. Since the primary coordination spheres defines ET efficiency and catalytic reactivity of metalloproteins, the reactivity can only be tuned by altering secondary coordination sphere interactions to ensure a minimal effect on ET or catalytic efficiency. While it is well known that nature uses a limited set of primary coordination spheres to span a wide range of Eº, the factors that control the Eº, especially those that do not perturb the primary coordination spheres, remain elusive. To address this issue, we explore novel concepts through systematically tuning the Eº of metal centers in our protein systems by:
- rational design of the secondary coordination sphere interactions around the primary coordination spheres
- incorporation of unnatural amino acids, and
- directed protein evolution.
- water-soluble and stable redox agents with tunable Eº for biochemical studies
- ET proteins with controlled Eº that can transfer electrons in the inverted region of Marcus theory for applications in photosynthesis and respiration, and
- biocatalysts with tunable activities through potential tuning.
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