Electrochemical and ligand binding studies of a de novo heme protein

Aditi Das, Scott A. Trammell, Michael H. Hecht

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20 Scopus citations


Heme proteins can perform a variety of electrochemical functions. While natural heme proteins carry out particular functions selected by biological evolution, artificial heme proteins, in principle, can be tailored to suit specified technological applications. Here we describe initial characterization of the electrochemical properties of a de novo heme protein, S824C. Protein S824C is a four-helix bundle derived from a library of sequences that was designed by binary patterning of polar and nonpolar amino acids. Protein S824C was immobilized on a gold electrode and the formal potential of heme-protein complex was studied as a function of pH and ionic strength. The binding of exogenous N-donor ligands to heme/S824C was monitored by measuring shifts in the potential that occurred upon addition of various concentrations of imidazole or pyridine derivatives. The response of heme/S824C to these ligands was then compared to the response of isolated heme (without protein) to the same ligands. The observed shifts in potential depended on both the concentration and the structure of the added ligand. Small changes in structure of the ligand (e.g. pyridine versus 2-amino pyridine) produced significant shifts in the potential of the heme-protein. The observed shifts correlate to the differential binding of the N-donor molecules to the oxidized and reduced states of the heme. Further, it was observed that the electrochemical response of the buried heme in heme/S824C differed significantly from that of isolated heme. These studies demonstrate that the structure of the de novo protein modulates the binding of N-donor ligands to heme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-112
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Sep 20 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


  • Binary patterning
  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • Heme protein
  • Protein design
  • Redox protein


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