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Journal Article

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Journal of the American Chemical Society





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This work reports the first example of a single-chain protein computationally designed to contain four α-helical segments and fold to form a four-helix bundle encapsulating a supramolecular abiological chromophore that possesses exceptional nonlinear optical properties. The 109-residue protein, designated SCRPZ-1, binds and disperses an insoluble hyperpolarizable chromophore, ruthenium(II) [5-(4'-ethynyl-(2,2';6',2″-terpyridinyl))-10,20-bis(phenyl)porphinato]zinc(II)-(2,2';6',2″-terpyridine)(2+) (RuPZn) in aqueous buffer solution at a 1:1 stoichiometry. A 1:1 binding stoichiometry of the holoprotein is supported by electronic absorption and circular dichroism spectra, as well as equilibrium analytical ultracentrifugation and size exclusion chromatography. SCRPZ-1 readily dimerizes at micromolar concentrations, and an empirical redesign of the protein exterior produced a stable monomeric protein, SCRPZ-2, that also displayed a 1:1 protein:cofactor stoichiometry. For both proteins in aqueous buffer, the encapsulated cofactor displays photophysical properties resembling those exhibited by the dilute RuPZn cofactor in organic solvent: femtosecond, nanosecond, and microsecond time scale pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopic data evince intensely absorbing holoprotein excited states having large spectral bandwidth that penetrate deep in the near-infrared energy regime; the holoprotein electronically excited triplet state exhibits a microsecond time scale lifetime characteristic of the RuPZn chromophore. Hyper-Rayleigh light scattering measurements carried out at an incident irradiation wavelength of 1340 nm for these holoproteins demonstrate an exceptional dynamic hyperpolarizabilty (β1340 = 3100 × 10(-30) esu). X-ray reflectivity measurements establish that this de novo-designed hyperpolarizable protein can be covalently attached with high surface density to a silicon surface without loss of the cofactor, indicating that these assemblies provide a new approach to bioinspired materials that have unique electro-optic functionality.

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This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Journal of the American Chemical Society, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see


Amino Acid Sequence, Circular Dichroism, Computer Simulation, Drug Design, Metalloporphyrins, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Protein Binding, Proteins, Substrate Specificity



Date Posted: 07 December 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.