Monolayer Assemblies of a De Novo Designed 4-alpha-Helix Bundle Carboprotein and Its Sulfur Anchor Fragment on Au(111) Surfaces Addressed by Voltammetry and In Situ Scanning Tunneling Microscopy

Jesper Brask, Hainer Wackerbarth, Knud J. Jensen, Jingdong Zhang, Ib Chorkendorff, Jens Ulstrup

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Mapping and control of proteins and oligonucleotides on metallic and nonmetallic surfaces are important in many respects. Electrochemical techniques based on single-crystal electrodes and scanning probe microscopies directly in aqueous solution (in situ SPM) have recently opened perspectives for such mapping at a resolution that approaches the single-molecule level. De novo design of model proteins has evolved in parallel and holds promise for testing and controlling protein folding and for new tailored protein structural motifs. In this report we combine these two strategies. We present a scheme for the synthesis of a new 4-R-helix bundle carboprotein built on a galactopyranoside derivative with a thiol anchor aglycon suitable for surface immobilization on gold. The carboprotein with thiol anchor in monomeric and dimeric (disulfide) form, the thiol anchor alone, and a sulfur-free 4-R-helix bundle carboprotein without thiol anchor have been prepared and investigated for comparison. Cyclic and differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) of the proteins show desorption peaks around -750 mV (SCE), whereas the thiol anchor desorption peak is at -685 mV. The peaks are by far the highest for thiol monomeric 4-R-helix bundle carboprotein and the thiol anchor. This pattern is supported by capacitance data. The DPV and capacitance data for the thiolated 4-R-helix bundle carboproteins and the thiol anchor hold a strong Faradaic reductive desorption component as supported by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The desorption peak of the sulfur-free 4-R-helix bundle carboprotein, however, also points to a capacitive component. In situ scanning tunneling microscopy (in situ STM) of the thiol anchor discloses an adlayer with small domains and single molecules ordered in pin-striped supramolecular structures. In situ STM of thiolated 4-R-helix bundle carboprotein monomer shows a dense monolayer in a broad potential range on the positive side of the desorption potential. The coverage decreases close to this potential and single-molecule structures become apparent. The in situ STM contrast is also strengthened, indicative of a new redox-based tunneling mechanism. The data overall suggest that single-molecule mapping of natural and synthetic proteins on well-characterized surfaces by electrochemistry and in situ STM is within reach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume125
Pages (from-to)94-104
ISSN0002-7863
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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