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In situ STM Imaging and Direct Electrochemistry of Pyrococcus furiosus Ferredoxin Assembled on Thiolate-Modified Au(111) Surfaces

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journal contribution
posted on 12.08.2019, 13:16 by Jingdong Zhang, Hans E. M. Christensen, Bee Lean Ooi, Jens Ulstrup
We have addressed here electron transfer (ET) of Pyrococcus furiosus ferredoxin (PfFd, 7.5 kDa) in both homogeneous solution using edge plane graphite (EPG) electrodes and in the adsorbed state by electrochemistry on surface-modified single-crystal Au(111) electrodes, This has been supported by surface microscopic structures of PfFd monolayers, as revealed by scanning tunneling microscopy under potential control (in situ STM). Direct ET between PfFd in phosphate buffer solution, pH 7.9, and EPG electrodes is observed in the presence of promoters. Neomycin gives rise to a pair of redox peaks with a formal potential of ca −430 mV (vs SCE), corresponding to [3Fe−4S]1+/0. The presence of an additional promoter, which can be propionic acid, alanine, or cysteine, induces a second pair of redox peaks at ∼−900 mV (vs SCE) arising from [3Fe−4S]0/1-. A robust neomycin−PfFd complex was detected by mass spectrometry. The results clearly favor an ET mechanism in which the promoting effect of small organic molecules is through formation of promoter−protein complexes. The interaction of PfFd with small organic molecules in homogeneous solution offers clues to confine the protein on the electrode surface modified by the same functional group monolayer and to address diffusionless direct electrochemistry, as well as surface microstructures of the protein monolayer. PfFd molecules were found to assemble on either mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) or cysteine-modified Au(111) surfaces in stable monolayers or submonolayers. Highly ordered (2√3 × 5)R30° cluster structures with six MPA molecules in each cluster were found by in situ STM. Individual PfFd molecules on the MPA layer are well resolved by in situ STM. Under Ar protection reversible cyclic voltammograms were obtained on PfFd−MPA/Au(111) and PfFd−cysteine/Au(111) electrodes with redox potentials of −220 and −201 mV (vs SCE), respectively, corresponding to the [Fe3S4]1+/0 couple. These values are shifted positively by 200 mV relative to homogeneous solution due to interactions between the promoting layers and the protein molecules. Possible mechanisms for such interactions and their ET patterns are discussed.