Designed tetra-zinc proteins modeling photosynthesis published in JACS
DGL post-doc Shao-Qing Zhang alongside the Lombardi lab from University of Naples recently published their work designing and characterizing peptides that self-assemble into 4-helix bundles to coordinate 4 transition metals (Zinc) in close proximity.
These bundles were built as a model system to mimic the cuboid-like multi-nuclear arrangement of transition metals in the active site of the photosystem II protein. This feat of designing a tetra-nuclear metal cluster with simple peptides brings us one step closer to engineering living, "breathing" protein-metal arrangements with the potential to mimic the efficient water oxidation step of photosynthesis, and providing materials for renewable energy conversion and storage.
Zhang SQ, Chino M, Liu L, Tang Y, Hu X, DeGrado WF, Lombardi A. De Novo Design of Tetranuclear Transition Metal Clusters Stabilized by Hydrogen-Bonded Networks in Helical Bundles. JACS. 2017