HELLWIG Petra

Development of an infrared and electrochemical approach on the basis of extraordinary transmission for the study of the reaction mechanism of membrane proteins

 

Periodic sub wavelength arrays have been found to transmit more light than is incident upon their holes, also in the infrared spectral range. This so called extraordinary infrared transmission resonance, however, was not yet used to study large molecular structures like for example membrane proteins of several nm size. Here we suggest integrating sub wavelength arrays of different size and composition in spectroelectrochemical cells to obtain a new tool for the study of large molecular structures and ensembles. Proteins will be immobilized directly on the array or indirectly via nanoparticles.

The spectral range from the mid infrared to the far infrared will be probed enabling the observation of protein action at the level of single functional groups within large proteins and thus providing essential knowledge’s for the understanding of the mechanism of the studied enzymes. We will develop and apply the technique for the study on the conformational control of the catalytic reaction mechanism of the membrane protein NADH ubiquinone reductase, which is the crucial entry point of the respiratory chain. The approach will then be also adapted to other redox active membrane proteins and complex structures.