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Engineering Biological Scaffolds with Tunable Electro-Optical Properties


PIs: K.A. McAllister, B. North, C. Fry, F. Cochran, V. Nanda,W.F. DeGrado

The alpha helix coiled coil motif provides a biological scaffold for controlling the distribution and orientation of metal cofactors. This project aims to create two-dimensional arrays of alpha helical peptide bundles containing metal cofactors. Choice of cofactor influences the electronic properties of the bundle. Films with interesting non-linear optic properties and light responsive electrical conduction properties are anticipated.


Our initial designs have focused on creating peptide bundles with multi-porphyrin metal cofactors. Biophysical characterization of these peptide “wires,” using CD and EPR spectroscopy reveals that the porphyrins bind in an orientation conforming to the design. Based on these results, extensions of this design will add a packing interface on the exterior of the bundle to promote the self-assembly of a two-dimensional array.




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