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Biomimetics, learning from nature by Amitava Mukherjee

By Amitava Mukherjee

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For the study of potential dependent processes of immobilized redox proteins by TR-SERR, the equilibrium of the immobilized species is perturbed by a rapid potential jump, and the subsequent relaxation process is then monitored at different delay times. A prerequisite for applying of TR-SERR is that the underlying ET processes are fully reversible. The time resolution depends on the charge reorganization of the double layer of the working electrode and is typically on a microsecond scale (Murgida and Hildebrandt, 2004a; Murgida and Hildebrandt, 2005; Murgida and Hildebrandt 2008).

On the one hand, the B2 state has a reduction potential which is more than 300 mV lower than that of the native protein (denoted as state B1) as determined by potential-dependent SERR spectroscopy (Murgida and Hildebrandt, 2004a). , 2009). , 2009). Degradation of cardiolipin increases the permeability of the membrane, thus facilitating the transfer of Cyt-c to the cytosol where it binds to Apaf-1, in one of the initial events of the cell apoptosis. Thus, it is likely that the switch from the “normal” redox function of Cyt-c (B1 state) to the apoptotic function (B2 state) depends on the local electric field which is, in turn, modulated by the membrane potential.

Second, the transition from the non-polar core to the polar surface of the lipid bilayer implies a substantial variation of dielectric constants, which imposes specific boundary conditions for the movement and translocation of charges. Third, different ion concentrations on the two sides of the membrane generate transmembrane potential (), which together with the surface (s) and the dipole (d) potentials contributes to a complex potential profile across the membrane with particularly sharp changes and thus very high electric field strengths (up to 109 V/m) in the region of charged lipid head groups (Clarke, 2001) (Figure 2).

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