Matching Items (8)

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Design of Redox Proteins as Catalysts for Fuel Production

Description

Redox enzymes represent a big group of proteins and they serve as catalysts for

biological processes that involve electron transfer. These proteins contain a redox center

that determines their functional properties, and

Redox enzymes represent a big group of proteins and they serve as catalysts for

biological processes that involve electron transfer. These proteins contain a redox center

that determines their functional properties, and hence, altering this center or incorporating

non-biological redox cofactor to proteins has been used as a means to generate redox

proteins with desirable activities for biological and chemical applications. Porphyrins and

Fe-S clusters are among the most common cofactors that biology employs for electron

transfer processes and there have been many studies on potential activities that they offer

in redox reactions.

In this dissertation, redox activity of Fe-S clusters and catalytic activity of porphyrins

have been explored with regard to protein scaffolds. In the first part, modular property of

repeat proteins along with previously established protein design principles have been

used to incorporate multiple Fe-S clusters within the repeat protein scaffold. This study is

the first example of exploiting a single scaffold to assemble a determined number of

clusters. In exploring the catalytic activity of transmetallated porphyrins, a cobalt-porphyrin

binding protein known as cytochrome c was employed in a water oxidation

photoelectrochemical cell. This system can be further coupled to a hydrogen production

electrode to achieve a full water splitting tandem cell. Finally, a cobalt-porphyrin binding

protein known as cytochrome b562 was employed to design a whole cell catalysis system,

and the activity of the surface-displayed protein for hydrogen production was explored

photochemically. This system can further be expanded for directed evolution studies and

high-throughput screening.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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The role of protein dielectric relaxation on modulating the electron transfer process in photosynthetic reaction centers

Description

The photosynthetic reaction center is a type of pigment-protein complex found widely in photosynthetic bacteria, algae and higher plants. Its function is to convert the energy of sunlight into a

The photosynthetic reaction center is a type of pigment-protein complex found widely in photosynthetic bacteria, algae and higher plants. Its function is to convert the energy of sunlight into a chemical form that can be used to support other life processes. The high efficiency and structural simplicity make the bacterial reaction center a paradigm for studying electron transfer in biomolecules. This thesis starts with a comparison of the primary electron transfer process in the reaction centers from the Rhodobacter shperoides bacterium and those from its thermophilic homolog, Chloroflexus aurantiacus. Different temperature dependences in the primary electron transfer were found in these two type of reaction centers. Analyses of the structural differences between these two proteins suggested that the excess surface charged amino acids as well as a larger solvent exposure area in the Chloroflexus aurantiacus reaction center could explain the different temperature depenence. The conclusion from this work is that the electrostatic interaction potentially has a major effect on the electron transfer. Inspired by these results, a single point mutant was designed for Rhodobacter shperoides reaction centers by placing an ionizable amino acid in the protein interior to perturb the dielectrics. The ionizable group in the mutation site largely deprotonated in the ground state judging from the cofactor absorption spectra as a function of pH. By contrast, a fast charge recombination assoicated with protein dielectric relaxation was observed in this mutant, suggesting the possibility that dynamic protonation/deprotonation may be taking place during the electron transfer. The fast protein dielectric relaxation occuring in this mutant complicates the electron transfer pathway and reduces the yield of electron transfer to QA. Considering the importance of the protein dielectric environment, efforts have been made in quantifying variations of the internal field during charge separation. An analysis protocol based on the Stark effect of reaction center cofactor spectra during charge separation has been developed to characterize the charge-separated radical field acting on probe chromophores. The field change, monitored by the dynamic Stark shift, correlates with, but is not identical to, the electron transfer kinetics. The dynamic Stark shift results have lead to a dynamic model for the time-dependent dielectric that is complementary to the static dielectric asymmetry observed in past steady state experiments. Taken together, the work in this thesis emphasizes the importance of protein electrostatics and its dielectric response to electron transfer.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Solvent electrostatic response: from simple solutes to proteins

Description

How water behaves at interfaces is relevant to many scientific and technological applications; however, many subtle phenomena are unknown in aqueous solutions. In this work, interfacial structural transition in hydration

How water behaves at interfaces is relevant to many scientific and technological applications; however, many subtle phenomena are unknown in aqueous solutions. In this work, interfacial structural transition in hydration shells of a polarizable solute at critical polarizabilities is discovered. The transition is manifested in maximum water response, the reorientation of the water dipoles at the interface, and an increase in the density of dangling OH bonds. This work also addresses the role of polarizability of the active site of proteins in biological catalytic reactions. For proteins, the hydration shell becomes very heterogeneous and involves a relatively large number of water molecules. The molecular dynamics simulations show that the polarizability, along with the atomic charge distribution, needs to be a part of the picture describing how enzymes work. Non Gaussian dynamics in time-resolved linear and nonlinear (correlation) 2D spectra are also analyzed.

Additionally, a theoretical formalism is presented to show that when preferential orientations of water dipoles exist at the interface, electrophoretic charges can be produced without free charge carriers, i.e., neutral solutes can move in a constant electric field due to the divergence of polarization at the interface. Furthermore, the concept of interface susceptibility is introduced. It involves the fluctuations of the surface charge density caused by thermal motion and its correlation over the characteristic correlation length with the fluctuations of the solvent charge density. Solvation free energy and interface dielectric constant are formulated accordingly. Unlike previous approaches, the solvation free energy scales quite well in a broad range of ion sizes, namely in the range of 2-14 A° . Interface dielectric constant is defined such that the boundary conditions in the Laplace equation describing a micro- or mesoscopic interface are satisfied. The effective dielectric constant of interfacial water is found to be significantly lower than its bulk value. Molecular dynamics simulation results show that the interface dielectric constant for a TIP3P water model changes from nine to four when the effective solute radius is increased from 5 A° to 18 A° . The small value of the interface dielectric constant of water has potentially dramatic consequences for hydration.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Mutations that affect the bidirectional electron transfer in photosystem I

Description

Photosystem I (PSI) is a multi-subunit, pigment-protein complex that catalyzes light-driven electron transfer (ET) in its bi-branched reaction center (RC). Recently it was suggested that the initial charge separation (CS)

Photosystem I (PSI) is a multi-subunit, pigment-protein complex that catalyzes light-driven electron transfer (ET) in its bi-branched reaction center (RC). Recently it was suggested that the initial charge separation (CS) event can take place independently within each ec2/ec3 chlorophyll pair. In order to improve our understanding of this phenomenon, we have generated new mutations in the PsaA and PsaB subunits near the electron transfer cofactor 2 (ec2 chlorophyll). PsaA-Asn604 accepts a hydrogen bond from the water molecule that is the axial ligand of ec2B and the case is similar for PsaB-Asn591 and ec2A. The second set of targeted sites was PsaA-Ala684 and PsaB-Ala664, whose methyl groups are present near ec2A and ec2B, respectively. We generated a number of mutants by targeting the selected protein residues. These mutations were expected to alter the energetics of the primary charge separation event.

The PsaA-A684N mutants exhibited increased ET on the B-branch as compared to the A-branch in both in vivo and in vitro conditions. The transient electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy revealed the formation of increased B-side radical pair (RP) at ambient and cryogenic temperatures. The ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy and fluorescence decay measurement of the PsaA-A684N and PsaB-A664N showed a slight deceleration of energy trapping. Thus making mutations near ec2 on each branch resulted into modulation of the charge separation process. In the second set of mutants, where ec2 cofactor was target by substitution of PsaA-Asn604 or PsaB-Asn591 to other amino acids, a drop in energy trapping was observed. The quantum yield of CS decreases in Asn to Leu and His mutants on the respective branch. The P700 triplet state was not observed at room and cryogenic temperature for these mutants, nor was a rapid decay of P700+ in the nanosecond timescale, indicating that the mutations do not cause a blockage of electron transfer from the ec3 Chl. Time-resolved fluorescence results showed a decrease in the lifetime of the energy trapping. We interpret this decrease in lifetime as a new channel of excitation energy decay, in which the untrapped energy dissipates as heat through a fast internal conversion process. Thus, a variety of spectroscopic measurements of PSI with point mutations near the ec2 cofactor further support that the ec2 cofactor is involved in energy trapping process.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Molecular models for conductance in junctions and electrochemical electron transfer

Description

This thesis develops molecular models for electron transport in molecular junctions and intra-molecular electron transfer. The goal is to identify molecular descriptors that afford a substantial simplification of these electronic

This thesis develops molecular models for electron transport in molecular junctions and intra-molecular electron transfer. The goal is to identify molecular descriptors that afford a substantial simplification of these electronic processes.

First, the connection between static molecular polarizability and the molecular conductance is examined. A correlation emerges whereby the measured conductance of a tunneling junction decreases as a function of the calculated molecular polarizability for several systems, a result consistent with the idea of a molecule as a polarizable dielectric. A model based on a macroscopic extension of the Clausius-Mossotti equation to the molecular domain and Simmon’s tunneling model is developed to explain this correlation. Despite the simplicity of the theory, it paves the way for further experimental, conceptual and theoretical developments in the use of molecular descriptors to describe both conductance and electron transfer.

Second, the conductance of several biologically relevant, weakly bonded, hydrogen-bonded systems is systematically investigated. While there is no correlation between hydrogen bond strength and conductance, the results indicate a relation between the conductance and atomic polarizability of the hydrogen bond acceptor atom. The relevance of these results to electron transfer in biological systems is discussed.

Hydrogen production and oxidation using catalysts inspired by hydrogenases provides a more sustainable alternative to the use of precious metals. To understand electrochemical and spectroscopic properties of a collection of Fe and Ni mimics of hydrogenases, high-level density functional theory calculations are described. The results, based on a detailed analysis of the energies, charges and molecular orbitals of these metal complexes, indicate the importance of geometric constraints imposed by the ligand on molecular properties such as acidity and electrocatalytic activity. Based on model calculations of several intermediates in the catalytic cycle of a model NiFe complex, a hypothetical reaction mechanism, which very well agrees with the observed experimental results, is proffered.

Future work related to this thesis may involve the systematic analysis of chemical reactivity in constrained geometries, a subject of importance if the context of enzymatic activity. Another, more intriguing direction is related to the fundamental issue of reformulating Marcus theory in terms of the molecular dielectric response function.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Reconstitution of the Heliobacterial Reaction Center Into Proteoliposomes and Restoration of Its Interaction with Membrane-bound Cytochrome c553

Description

To mimic the membrane environment for the photosynthetic reaction center of the photoheterotrophic Heliobacterium modesticaldum, a proteoliposome system was developed using the lipids found in native membranes, as well as

To mimic the membrane environment for the photosynthetic reaction center of the photoheterotrophic Heliobacterium modesticaldum, a proteoliposome system was developed using the lipids found in native membranes, as well as a lipid possessing a Ni(II)-NTA head group. The liposomes were also saturated with menaquinone-9 to provide further native conditions, given that menaquinone is active within the heliobacterial reaction center in some way. Purified heliobacterial reaction center was reconstituted into the liposomes and a recombinant cytochrome c553 was decorated onto the liposome surface. The native lipid-attachment sequence of cytochrome c553 was truncated and replaced with a hexahistidine tag. Thus, the membrane-anchoring observed in vivo was simulated through the histidine tag of the recombinant cytochrome binding to the Ni(II)-NTA lipid's head group. The kinetics of electron transfer in this system was measured and compared to native membranes using transient absorption spectroscopy. The preferential-orientation of reconstituted heliobacterial reaction center was also measured by monitoring the proteoliposome system's ability to reduce a soluble acceptor, flavodoxin, in both whole and detergent-solubilized proteoliposome conditions. These data demonstrate that this proteoliposome system is reliable, biomimetic, and efficient for selectively testing the function of the photosynthetic reaction center of Heliobacterium modesticaldum and its interactions with both donors and acceptors. The recombinant cytochrome c553 performs similarly to native cytochrome c553 in heliobacterial membranes. These data also support the hypothesis that the orientation of the reconstituted reaction center is inherently selective for its bacteriochlorophyll special pair directed to the outer-leaflet of the liposome.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Energy and electron transfer in photochromic molecules

Description

Photochromic molecules, which photoisomerize between two chemically and optically distinct states, are well suited for electron and energy transfer to covalently attached chromophores. This dissertation aims to manipulate electron and

Photochromic molecules, which photoisomerize between two chemically and optically distinct states, are well suited for electron and energy transfer to covalently attached chromophores. This dissertation aims to manipulate electron and energy transfer by photochromic control in a number of organic molecular systems. Herein the synthesis, characterization and function of these organic molecular systems will be described. Electron and energy transfer were quantified by the use of steady state absorbance and fluorescence, as well as time-resolved fluorescence and transient absorbance. A dithienylethene-porphrin-fullerene triad was synthesized to investigate photochromic control of photo-induced electron transfer. Control of two distinct electron transfer pathways was achieved by photochromic switching. A molecular dyad was synthesized, in which fluorescence was modulated by energy transfer by photoinduced isomerization. Also described is a triplet-triplet annihilation upconversion system that covalently attaches fluorophores to improve quantum yield. Overall these studies demonstrate complex molecular switching systems, which may lead to advancement in organic electronic applications and organic based artificial photosynthesis systems.

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Date Created
  • 2014

Temperature and polarizability effects on electron transfer in biology and artificial photosynthesis

Description

This study aims to address the deficiencies of the Marcus model of electron transfer

(ET) and then provide modifications to the model. A confirmation of the inverted energy

gap law, which is

This study aims to address the deficiencies of the Marcus model of electron transfer

(ET) and then provide modifications to the model. A confirmation of the inverted energy

gap law, which is the cleanest verification so far, is presented for donor-acceptor complexes.

In addition to the macroscopic properties of the solvent, the physical properties of the solvent

are incorporated in the model via the microscopic solvation model. For the molecules

studied in this dissertation, the rate constant first increases with cooling, in contrast to the

prediction of the Arrhenius law, and then decreases at lower temperatures. Additionally,

the polarizability of solute, which was not considered in the original Marcus theory, is included

by the Q-model of ET. Through accounting for the polarizability of the reactants, the

Q-model offers an important design principle for achieving high performance solar energy

conversion materials. By means of the analytical Q-model of ET, it is shown that including

molecular polarizability of C60 affects the reorganization energy and the activation barrier

of ET reaction.

The theory and Electrochemistry of Ferredoxin and Cytochrome c are also investigated.

By providing a new formulation for reaction reorganization energy, a long-standing disconnect

between the results of atomistic simulations and cyclic voltametery experiments is

resolved. The significant role of polarizability of enzymes in reducing the activation energy

of ET is discussed. The binding/unbinding of waters to the active site of Ferredoxin leads

to non-Gaussian statistics of energy gap and result in a smaller activation energy of ET.

Furthermore, the dielectric constant of water at the interface of neutral and charged

C60 is studied. The dielectric constant is found to be in the range of 10 to 22 which is

remarkably smaller compared to bulk water( 80). Moreover, the interfacial structural

crossover and hydration thermodynamic of charged C60 in water is studied. Increasing the

charge of the C60 molecule result in a dramatic structural transition in the hydration shell,

which lead to increase in the population of dangling O-H bonds at the interface.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019