All Lit Up: Exploring the Photophysical Properties of Protein Polymers

Aarat P. Kalra, Somnath Biswas, Imani Mulrain, Michelle Wang, Jack A. Tuszynski, Gregory D. Scholes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Microtubules and actin filaments are protein polymers that play a variety of energy conversion roles in the biological cell. While these polymers are being increasingly harnessed for mechanochemical roles both inside and outside physiological conditions, their capabilities for photonic energy conversion are not well understood. In this Perspective, we first introduce the reader to the photophysical properties of protein polymers, examining light harvesting by their constituent aromatic residues. We then discuss both the opportunities and the challenges in interfacing protein biochemistry with photophysics. We also review the literature reporting the response of microtubules and actin filaments to infrared light, illustrating the potential of these polymers to these polymers serve as targets for photobiomodulation. Finally, we present broad challenges and questions in the field of protein biophotonics. Understanding how protein polymers interact with light will pioneer both biohybrid device fabrication and light-based therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5891-5900
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 29 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'All Lit Up: Exploring the Photophysical Properties of Protein Polymers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this