Frederic Melin and Petra Hellwig * Recent advances in the electrochemistry and spectroelectrochemistry of membrane proteins

Abstract

Integral membrane proteins are encountered in fundamental natural processes, such as photosynthesis and respiration. The relation between the structure of the proteins and their function and dynamics are still not clear in most cases. Once fully understood, these processes could ultimately help researchers to develop alternative methods for producing energy, either from light or biomass. They could also lead to more efficient antibiotics, which would selectively inhibit a specific membrane protein of pathogenic bacteria. Since the chemical reactions involved in both photosynthesis and respiration are redox reactions, electrochemical methods can play a considerable role in uncovering their mechanisms. The electrochemical characterization of membrane proteins is, however, quite challenging. An overview on the techniques used for the characterization of membrane proteins, including classical approaches such as voltammetry and spectroelectrochemistry, and recent developments, such as their combination with surface-enhanced techniques is given.

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