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Issue 3, 2007
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Dynamic control of biomolecular activity using electrical interfaces

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The development of novel interfaces between electronic devices and biological systems is a rapidly evolving research area that may lead to new insights into biological behavior, clinical diagnostics and therapeutic treatments. Full electrical integration into biological networks will require bioactuators which can translate an electrical pulse into a specific biochemical signal the system can understand. One approach has been the use of electrostatic fields near the surface of an electrode to locally alter the ionic and electrostatic environment within an ionic double layer. In this scheme, normally active biological macromolecules are suspended in a ‘low-salt buffer’ that is depleted of necessary ions, such as Mg2+, rendering them inactive. Upon application of an electrical potential these ions are concentrated at the electrode surface, locally activating biomolecular function. An initial demonstration of this method is presented for the dynamic polymerization of actin filaments from electrode surfaces. In principle, electrodes functionalized with different proteins could be individually activated to translate an electrical potential into a specific biochemical signal or behavior.

Graphical abstract: Dynamic control of biomolecular activity using electrical interfaces

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The article was received on 24 May 2006, accepted on 21 Aug 2006 and first published on 18 Sep 2006

Article type: Emerging Area
DOI: 10.1039/B607279H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2007,3, 267-274
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    Dynamic control of biomolecular activity using electrical interfaces

    I. Y. Wong, M. J. Footer and N. A. Melosh, Soft Matter, 2007, 3, 267
    DOI: 10.1039/B607279H

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